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Japan’s Diet OKs 1-year extension of U.S. base cost pact

Tokyo, March 31 (Jiji Press)–The Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Wednesday approved a one-year extension of a bilateral pact on the Japanese host-nation financial support for U.S. forces stationed in the Asian country.


A Japan-U.S. agreement on the extension was approved at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito coalition and the biggest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.


The House of Representatives gave its approval last week.


Under the agreement, Japan will cover 201.7 billion yen in payroll, utility and other costs at the U.S. bases in fiscal 2021 from April.


The amount of Japan’s host-nation support is determined by the special pact, which has been renewed every five years based on the results of bilateral negotiations.


The current pact, covering the five years from fiscal 2016, is set to expire Wednesday. But the two countries could not have enough negotiations on the renewal, partly because the United States had a presidential election last year.


Before agreeing on the one-year extension, the Japanese government had earmarked under its fiscal 2021 draft budget the same amount of host-nation support as the annually required level under the current pact.


After U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January this year, the two countries restarted talks and agreed on the extension.


The two sides will continue negotiating a new pact on the host-nation support from fiscal 2022, seeking to reach an agreement by the end of this year.

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