All national dailies wrote that the governments of the United States and Japan have agreed that Japan will increase its share of the cost for hosting U.S. troops in the country to 1.05 trillion yen ($9.2 billion), or 211 billion yen ($1.8 billion) annually, for five years starting in fiscal 2022. The papers wrote that Japan will include spending for the procurement of training equipment in the 1.05 trillion-yen ($9.2 billion) budget under a new five-year agreement to enhance the U.S.-Japan alliance’s deterrence and Japan’s defense capabilities with China’s rise in mind. The papers also wrote that the two governments are planning to sign the five-year agreement at their 2+2 meeting of foreign and defense ministers expected to be held in Washington on Jan. 7.
Foreign Minister Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday that although past spending had focused on utility and other costs to support the stationing of U.S. troops in Japan, the United States and Japan agreed to make the spending for the coming five years serve as the foundation for further strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance, adding that the name “consideration budget” (omoiyari yosan) does not correctly reflect the nature of the new agreement that aims to enhance the interoperability of U.S. forces and the SDF. Nikkei wrote that Defense Minister Kishi separately told the press on Tuesday that the U.S.-Japan agreement on the five-year spending demonstrates the two nations’ resolution to meet together the challenges posed by the difficult security environment and that the name of Japan’s share of the cost will be changed from “consideration budget” to “budget for enhancement of readiness and resilience of the alliance” (doumei kyoujinka yosan).
Asahi wrote that although Tokyo tried to fend off Washington’s pressure to increase its share of the cost by agreeing to pay for procuring training equipment and changing the name of the budget, the definition of equipment for military training is vague and the United States might ask for additional spending in the future, quoting an unnamed foreign ministry official as saying that a slight increase in spending may look good, but the Biden administration will likely ask Japan to share equal responsibilities.