Japan Proposes 1-Year Extension of U.S. Base Cost Pact
Tokyo, Feb. 1 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has proposed a provisional one-year pact with the United States that would keep Japan’s costs of hosting U.S. bases and troops at the current level, it was learned Monday.
Motegi made the proposal to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in their telephone talks Wednesday, according to Japanese government sources. Following the inauguration of new U.S. President Joe Biden last month, the two countries will hold working-level talks online as early as this week with the aim of reaching an early conclusion.
The two sides have been struggling to sign a new bilateral pact on Japan’s host-nation support, after Washington demanded an increase in Tokyo’s financial burden of hosting U.S. troops under the administration of then President Donald Trump.
Giving up on reaching an agreement during 2020 in light of the need to confirm the result of the U.S. presidential election, the Japanese government has provisionally earmarked around 200 billion yen under its fiscal 2021 draft budget to cover such costs, almost the same as the amount secured in fiscal 2020, which ends next month.
The Japanese side explained the developments in the Motegi-Blinken phone talks, according to the sources. With the current special pact on Japan’s host-nation support set to expire at the end of next month, Motegi and Blinken agreed to accelerate the bilateral negotiations, seeking to reach an accord at an early date, the sources said.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]