NHK reported the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Armed Services Committee sent a joint letter to the White House expressing concern about President Trump’s relentless calls for U.S. allies to pay more for stationing U.S. troops on their soil. Representatives Engel and Smith reportedly stated in the letter that while they agree the allies should pay their fair share, they are concerned by media reports saying the administration has requested that Japan and South Korea drastically increase their contributions. The influential U.S. lawmakers warned such requests may endanger the trilateral partnership, which they insisted must be enhanced to deal with the threats posed by North Korea and China.
On President Trump’s reported revelation he pressed Prime Minster Abe to provide greater host nation support for the U.S. military, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga declined to disclose the details of diplomatic communications between the two leaders. However, he stressed Japan and the U.S. share the costs for U.S. troops “appropriately” based on the bilateral agreement. TBS and Fuji TV aired similar reports, with the former quoting a GOJ source as saying: “The President apparently believes the U.S. has shouldered considerable costs for protecting its allies. He wants Japan to return the favor.”