Japan will increase its economic contribution for the maintenance of American troops on its territory from 2022, according to diplomatic sources, an increase that had been generating friction since the Trump administration.
The agreement on the amount of the increase is expected to be reached before the Cabinet of the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, presents its draft general budget for the fiscal year that will start in Japan on April 1, 2022, at the end of this month, according to leaks to the Kyodo news agency.
According to the sources, Japan considers it necessary to increase to some extent its contribution within the framework of the bilateral pact to assume the costs of the deployment of US troops in the country, extended earlier this year, in order to strengthen its alliance in the face of possible regional threats such as those it interprets may come from China.
Representatives of both countries resumed negotiations on the matter after Kishida’s trip to Washington in November and are now reviewing the financial amount of the increase.
The current terms of the pact determine a contribution of 201.7 billion yen (about 1.58 billion euros or 1.785 billion dollars) from Japan to cover expenses that include public services and salaries for Japanese personnel at U.S. military bases in the archipelago.
Tokyo has been trying to avoid or minimize any increase in this contribution due to its complex financial situation, while Washington has been asking for an increase in view of the heightened tension in the Indo-Pacific region, especially due to the strength of Beijing and the arms development of Pyongyang.
Pressure on Japan to increase its contribution increased during the term of former President Donald Trump, who was highly critical of the terms of similar pacts with other countries in the region such as South Korea, which he called on to significantly increase their contributions.
Former national security advisor, John Bolton, recounted in a book Trump’s intention for Japan to increase its contribution by more than four times, up to 8 billion dollars, although the Asian country is considering that the amount should not be so large, according to Kyodo.
Japan is home to some 55,000 U.S. military and related personnel, most of whom are stationed in the southwestern Okinawa archipelago.