Japan and the US later this week will begin negotiations over cost-sharing of 55,000 American troops based in Japan.
“We will appropriately engage in the negotiations by taking into account the increasingly stringent regional security environment and our fiscal situation,” Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told a news conference, Kyodo News Agency reported Tuesday.
The five-year cost-sharing deal under bilateral security alliance between the two sides will end next March – the end of Japan’s fiscal year.
Under the Donald Trump administration, the US sought a hike in costs from the host countries.
Last year, under a new one-year deal, the US got a hike of 8.2% from South Korea for its 28,500 troops based in the country since the 1950s Korean war.
South Korea agreed to pay 1.04 trillion South Korean won ($920 million) in 2019 for the operation of the 28,500-strong US Forces Korea (USFK), up from 960 billion won ($853 million) in the previous year.
Earlier this year, Trump said he turned down a “certain amount” of money from South Korea related to his demand that Seoul shoulders a larger share of the cost of US military forces deployed in the country.
“We are defending a wonderful nation. We are asking them to pay for a big percentage of what we’re doing. It is not fair,” he had said.
Trump has also criticized the US alliance with Japan as “one-sided” and indicated Japan should contribute more.
Japan expects President-elect Joe Biden to ease the pressure.
Japan and the US may also sign a tentative one-year deal instead of the usual five-year arrangement, Kyodo reported.
So far, Japan has paid nearly $1.9 billion annually as host-nation support to the US. It covers utility and labor costs for the US bases, relocating training exercises away from populated areas in Japan.
Under the bilateral treaty, the US soldiers stationed in Japan are tasked with responding to contingencies in the region as well as helping defend against an armed attack on the country.
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