Japan to pay $9.33 billion for US forces over five years to 2026

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Japan has agreed with the US to pay 1.06 trillion yen ($9.33 billion) to share the upkeep of US forces stationed in Japan over five years from next April, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Tuesday.

That amounts to 211 billion yen a year, up from 201.7 billion yen for the current year ending March 2022.

About 54,000 US military personnel are stationed in Japan.

“With the security environment surrounding Japan getting tougher, we have been negotiating (with the US) to support the stable presence of the US forces and strengthen the Japan-US alliance's deterrence and response capability,” Hayashi said.

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A spokesperson for the US State Department confirmed that agreement has been reached on the issue.

“We can confirm that representatives of the Governments of the US and Japan have reached consensus on the contents of a new proposed Special Measures Agreement and Host Nation Support Framework between the US and Japan, the spokesperson said, referring to the financing agreements.

“This demonstrates the strength of the US-Japan Alliance, which is the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.”

The US and Japan are long-term allies and have deepened their cooperation in recent years through the Quad grouping, which includes Australia and India, in the face of China's rising power.

Another State Department spokesperson said details would be released after the formal agreement is concluded in the near future.

“The proposed agreement represents a modernized, forward-looking framework under which US forces in Japan help ensure security and regional stability,” the official said.

“It promotes greater mutual investment in defense and improvements to our forces’ interoperability, and includes an increase in cost-sharing contributions from Japan.”

While in office, former US President Donald Trump called for Japan to pay more for US forces, saying the security treaty between the two countries dating back to 1951 was “unfair.”

The treaty obligates the US to defend Japan, which under its US-drafted constitution, renounced the right to wage war after World War Two. Japan in return provides military bases used by the US to project power in Asia.

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