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SECURITY

MOFA is in the dark about how much Washington has spent for U.S. forces in Japan

  • May 16, 2020
  • , Okinawa Times , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

On May 15, during the Lower House foreign affairs committee meeting, Director-General Kazuhiro Suzuki of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ North American Affairs Bureau said that since FY2011, MOFA has had no knowledge of the amount the U.S. is spending on the U.S. military stationed in Japan. The U.S. side has not provided information on its spending after FY2011, the MOFA official revealed in response to a question from a Japanese Communist Party member, Seiken Akamine. Among the costs of stationing the U.S. military is Japan’s host nation support, the so-called  sympathy budget [omoiyari yosan], which pays for wages for base workers, utility charges and other expenses.

 

With the negotiations for a new agreement approaching this summer to set the ratio of the countries’ cost burden sharing, Akamine questioned the situation, saying, “Are you going to start negotiations without knowing the current cost burden ratio between Japan and the U.S.?”

 

MOFA’s Suzuki explained, “The information on which we chose to base our negotiations is a different issue from information the U.S. chooses to make public.” He added that the government will take appropriate steps and measures in the coming negotiations, while taking into account the increasingly difficult security environment as well as fiscal constraints.

 

According to a 2004 report by the U.S. Department of Defense, titled “Statistical Compendium on Allied Contributions to the Common Defense,” Japan was absorbing 74.5% of the cost of stationing U.S. forces in Japan.

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