Your April 15 editorial “Funding for U.S. military facilities” is, unfortunately, consistent with a trend that’s fairly prevalent in the Japanese media — the one-sided theme of the “burden” borne by Japan for hosting U.S. military facilities. In this editorial the burden was financial, in others it dwells on the myth of disproportionate crime, noise, etc.
A more comprehensive and balanced editorial would have contrasted this financial burden with the obvious benefits Japan gains from its bilateral security alliance with the United States. How about a comparison of the cost of hosting U.S. facilities versus the financial impact of Japan funding its own defense?
While you focused on what Japan “pays” for its participation in the alliance, how about a comparison with the costs the U.S. pays? Or perhaps a discussion of the non-monetary political benefits Japan gains?
The article also assumes that the recreational facilities being built and paid by the Japanese government are all at the request of the U.S. Given the well publicized corruption scandals within Japan’s Ministry of Defense, and in particular the previous Defense Facilities Administration Bureau responsible for all government of Japan (GOJ) construction activities at U.S. facilities, that assumption is far-fetched.
You note that GOJ funding of U.S. forces is “reportedly” five times higher than that paid by South Korea and Germany, but that’s comparing “apples and oranges.” A more pertinent question would be given the political, financial, social and other “costs” that enter into the overall equation of Japan providing for its own defense, isn’t the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty really a bargain?
I hope your future editorials are broader and more balanced.