Japan says share of costs for hosting U.S. forces at "appropriate" level

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-04 20:12:51|Editor: xuxin
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TOKYO, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan's top government spokesperson said Wednesday the country's financial share of the costs for U.S. forces to be stationed in Japan is at an "appropriate" level as per a bilateral deal, with the remarks following those by U.S. President Donald Trump suggesting otherwise.

"We have been sharing the cost of stationing U.S. forces in Japan appropriately based on the existing bilateral agreement," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference on the matter.

Suga opted not to comment specifically on remarks made by Trump a day earlier ostensibly calling for Japan to shoulder more of the costs, stating that he is aware of the remarks but would not disclose details of the two countries' diplomatic talks.

Japan's Kyodo News quoted Trump as saying that he had asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to increase Japan's payments towards hosting U.S. forces here.

"I've asked Japan. I said to Prime Minister Abe, a friend of mine, Shinzo. I said, 'You have to help us out here. We're paying a lot of money. You're a wealthy nation. And we're, you know, paying for your military essentially," said Trump, according to Kyodo News.

Japan has already rejected calls from the U.S. for it to increase its contributions to host the U.S. forces here by five times per year, Japanese government sources confirmed last month.

The current five-year "host-nation" support payment agreement between both parties will expire at the end of March 2021, at which time new negotiations are set to begin.

In the current fiscal year through March, Japan allocated around 197.4 billion yen (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the "host-nation" support payment agreement.

The agreement is supposed to cover costs for U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan, as well as costs related to the running of utilities and other U.S. military-linked expenditure.