Japan has decided to accept the United States’ request to pay more for its military operations from the 2022 financial year after the two countries held co-operation talks in Washington from late November to early this month, media sources said on Sunday.
Japan is expected to reach an agreement on an increase with the United States before the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decides on a draft budget for the financial year beginning April this month, sources said.
The Japanese government is believed to have decided that a certain amount of increase in so-called support for the host nation is inevitable due to the need to improve their long-standing security alliance. The U.S. military is currently integrating its advanced hardware into the region in response to China’s rapid military expansion.
The next one will focus on the magnitude of the climb, as the cost of deploying American troops to Japan also increases.
For the current financial year to March, funding to cover costs, such as Japanese labor and salaries at US military bases, has been budgeted for ¥ 201.7 billion ($ 1.79 billion).
Japan wanted to reduce any increase in aid due to the weak financial situation, and Washington, according to sources, had asked Tokyo to reduce costs seeing the need for U.S. troops to confront China.
Tokyo has called on Washington in its talks to reduce the cost of utility costs as any increase in the region will not have a direct impact on US sanctions in the region, making it difficult to gain public support, sources said.
Japan has said instead the United States should use the increased Tokyo contribution to funding costs such as the retention of facilities used by the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military and their joint exercises, sources said.
Cost-sharing agreements between Japan and the United States are usually signed to cover five-year terms.
But in terms of 2021 funding, the two countries agreed to extend the one-year extension to a five-year agreement that ended in March 2021, as their talks were affected by the Washington power transfer of President Joe Biden from his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Following an agreement in December, Japan and the United States are likely to sign a special agreement with the host country next month when they will hold a joint meeting of their defense and foreign ministers, according to sources.
During the four years under Trump and his “America First” foreign policy, Japan and other countries such as South Korea have been under intense pressure from Washington to significantly increase their financial contributions to the U.S. military.
Trump criticized the alliance with Japan as one side, saying, for example, in a June 2019 television speech that “if Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III … but if we are attacked, Japan has no. To help us. They can watch it on Sony television.”
A Japanese media outlet last month said the current rise in analysis could not be as large as requested by Trump’s administration.