Japan Pledges $2.4 Bn to Defray US Troop, Basing Costs
According to Agence France Presse, Japan has pledged Monday to provide $1.2 billion dollars annually over the next two years to help the United States station troops there. AFP notes that the funding agreement is in line with previous arrangements by Japan, which began sharing the cost of hosting US military forces in 1978. Japan has already planned an allocation of YEN 237.8 billion ($1.87 billion) for the fiscal year starting in April 2006, mostly covering the wages of Japanese working on US military bases and utilities.
While some local leaders are pushing for the pullout of more troops, the threatening presence of China and increasing concerns in the Japanese legislature makes this unlikely. More than 40,000 US troops are based in Japan under a security alliance, with more than half stationed at Okinawa. A bilateral plan reached in 2005 would relocate 7,000 US Marines out of Okinawa to Guam. Japan has committed to paying the costs of building the Guam facilities, which are estimated at around $4 billion.