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Review sympathy budget for U.S. military

  • 2015-10-27 15:00:00
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(Akahata: October 27, 2015 – p. 2)


 The Fiscal System subcommittee of the Fiscal System Council (an advisory panel to the finance minister) held a meeting on Oct. 26 to discuss “the review” of “the sympathy budget” for the U.S. military. In a press conference after the meeting, Hiroshi Yoshikawa (professor at a graduate school of the University of Tokyo), who chairs the subcommittee, emphasized that “multiple subcommittee members mentioned ‘the review’ in the meeting.”


 The council intends to reflect the discussion on the budget for the FY 2016 and thereafter. As the current bilateral Special Agreement Concerning the Costs of Stationing U.S. Forces in Japan, which defines the ratio of the cost borne by each country, will expire at the end of the FY 2015 (the end of March 2016), both the Japanese and the U.S. authorities are aiming to reach an agreement within this year.


 In the document submitted to the council, the Finance Ministry presented its proposal, calling for Japan to stop sharing salaries for Japanese base employees who work at recreational facilities such as theaters, golf courses, and bowling alleys, as well as for abolishing “differential pay,” which is an extra 10% of the basic pay, and “language allowance” for all Japanese base employees including those who work at recreational facilities. The ministry also aims to review Japan’s sharing utility charges for family housing.


 In the meeting on that day, the subcommittee members presented opinions such as, “With security environment changing, now is a perfect opportunity to ‘review,’ and “A true alliance should be the one in which Japan and the U.S. can thoroughly discuss “the sympathy budget” until the both sides understand it,” and “Bowling alleys and golf courses should be self-financed by their profits.”


 The sympathy budget for FY 2015 was 189.9 billion yen. While both the Foreign Affairs and the Defense ministries have demanded a reduction of the sympathy budget in this year’s negotiations, the U.S. has insisted on an increase.

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