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Japan proposes cut in budget for upkeep costs of U.S. bases

JIJI

The government has proposed to the United States a cut in Tokyo’s burden in upkeep costs for U.S. military facilities and personnel in Japan following the enactment of a controversial security legislation last month, informed sources said Sunday.

By curtailing its cost burden, Japan appears keen to generate funds for an expansion of the Self-Defense Forces’ activities and the stepped-up defense of a chain of remote islands in the country’s southwest, sources said.

Japan is currently shouldering labor costs for Japanese nationals working at U.S. military facilities, utility costs of the military and other expenses.

A total of ¥191.2 billion has been earmarked to cover such spending under the government’s fiscal 2015 budget.

The government hopes to reach a conclusion by the end of December, when it compiles a draft of the fiscal 2016 budget, following talks between foreign affairs and defense officials of the two countries, according to the sources.

But the bilateral talks may not go smoothly, as the U.S. seems reluctant to accept the proposed cut, which amounts to billions of yen, the sources said.

A Japan-U.S. pact on Tokyo’s share of the upkeep costs is revised every five years in principle. The current pact is set to expire at the end of March 2016.

The amount of spending by Japan has been reduced every year since fiscal 1999 due to the country’s deteriorating fiscal conditions.

In the previous revision of the pact, however, the amount was kept unchanged, to help improve the bilateral relationship, which had been strained under the administration of then-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of the Democratic Party of Japan, now the main opposition party.

This time, the Japanese side has sought U.S. understanding for a reduction, informing Washington again of its tough fiscal conditions, one source said.

  • Gerardo Gallo

    Japan, OK to propose cut in budget for upkeep costs of U.S. bases But, please do not quarrel with obama. You saw what he did to volkswagen

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  • Liars N. Fools

    This makes symmetrical sense in the aftermath of the collective self defense legislation IF the Japanese military in fact helps the American military in actual situations.

    The Japanese are what I call full fare free riders. They pay the full fare in host nation support military burden sharing, “taxing” the Okinawan people and territory for some chunk of that. In return, the Japanese have benefitted from the free ride provided American regional and global security activities (and getting a free ride in part from the Koreans who play a critical role in deterring North Korea).

    Now IF the Japanese actually are active participants in the defense of the region and world hot spots in support of the Americans, then it makes sense for the Japanese to lower their burden sharing expenditures. No other ally completely complies with the Congressional standard on burden sharing; only Japan does. So in this sense Japan would become “normal” insofar as burden sharing is concerned. I would watch out for the Congress, however, because the key members will be on the lookout to see IF Japan is actually carrying more of the load through active security moves, and even then the Congress might insist that Japan continue with the full fare burden sharing to make up for the reductions in the American defense budget. Who said life is fair?

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