Tokyo Wary of Possible Trump Demand to Pay Far More for U.S. Bases

Politics

Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)--A sense of alarm is growing in the Japanese government over a possible demand from U.S. President Donald Trump to pay much more for U.S. military bases in Japan.

The issue came under the spotlight following a recent U.S. media report that the Trump administration is working to demand that Japan, Germany and other allies cover the full costs of U.S. troops stationed on their soil and additionally pay 50 pct or more of the respective total amounts for the privilege of hosting them.

The Japanese government is poised to try to fend off the possible demand by claiming that it has been covering a significant share of the base-related costs.

"We're currently shouldering a considerable portion (of the costs)," Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya stressed at a press conference on Tuesday. "Also in light of our tight fiscal situation, we'll work hard in negotiations to gain understanding (from the U.S. side)."

Since fiscal 1978, Japan has been shouldering costs including salaries and benefits for workers at U.S. military facilities, as well as utility bills there. The Japanese government's fiscal 2019 draft budget includes 197.4 billion yen in such host-nation spending.

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