American toilet paper is taxed on the basic installation at the US Air Force Base in Japan
Residents of at least one American military facility in Japan may need to purchase Japanese toilet paper in order for their plumbing to function properly, according to the apartment maintenance bureau.
American multi-ply toilet paper brands are responsible for common clogged pipes at Yokota Air Base, Amy Moses, operator of the tower maintenance division at Yokota, Stars and Stripes, said in a phone call on Monday. Yokota in western Tokyo is the headquarters of the US Forces Japan, the 5th Air Force and the 374th Airlift Wing.
“We’re not trying to take the business off the stock exchange or the commissioner,” she said. “But it saves a lot of work and frustration for everyone in the long run if you don’t use this toilet paper.”
Over time, thick brands of toilet paper can get stuck in the sewer system, causing flooding and clogged drains that affect the bathtub and sink, Moses said. She said Japanese brands should dissolve faster than American brands.
Residents should also avoid using flushable wipes and putting toilet cleaning tabs in the tank, she said.
Moses said anyone unwilling to give up their favorite brands of creature comfort should be stingy with the amount of tissue they use and flush the toilet twice after using it. That’ll use more water, which is a good reason to reconsider your choice in toilet paper, she said.
Moses said she receives up to eight calls a day about clogged water pipes, often repeated calls from the same residents.
“If people want to keep using the American brand they like, that’s fine, but at some point they will have problems,” she said. “It gets really bad and even floods people’s master bedrooms.”
Yokota-based volunteer postal worker Tammy Jenkins said she had firsthand experience of a flooded toilet. After flooding her bathroom for the third time since February 2020, tower maintenance announced that her American toilet paper was the problem.
“At first I thought they were joking,” she said. “But for Japanese brands, it pays to get off the ground if it means not having an overflow toilet.”
Jenkins, who said she got used to buying packages of family-sized American toilet paper after the coronavirus pandemic sparked a shortage last year, intends to try Japanese brands.
“It would have been nice to know when I got here,” she said. “I shop a lot off-base anyway, so I really don’t mind. I just wish I didn’t have to find out. “
Moses said the tower maintenance bureau plans to address the toilet paper problem with newcomers in the future.
American-branded toilet paper is no problem at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa and Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo.
“It is not necessary to use Japanese toilet paper here,” Yokosuka spokesman Randall Baucom told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday by phone. “However, residents should stop using disposable wipes or throw them in the bin instead of washing them.”