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U.S., Japan Reach Deal on Payments for Hosting American Troops

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 12/21/2021 Nick Wadhams and Bill Faries
US troops army military © Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg US troops army military

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and Japan reached an agreement on costs Tokyo will bear to continue hosting tens of thousands of American troops, a bulwark against China and a key part of the Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific strategy. 

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US troops army military © Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg US troops army military

The accord, which covers the 2022-2026 period, will see Japan spending an average of 211 billion yen ($1.8 billion) per year to host about 50,000 American troops and their families, a presence that has at times been contentious. That’s roughly in line with expenses in recent years. 

“Bilateral defense cooperation under Host Nation Support will contribute to the enhancement of readiness and resiliency of the Alliance, including by improving the interoperability of U.S. forces and the Self-Defense Forces of Japan,” according to a statement Tuesday from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

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Read the Japanese government’s statement on the deal here

Japan and the U.S. reached a five-year deal in 2016 in which Tokyo bears costs for local staff, utilities and training relocation. In 2019, Japan was set to pay about 197 billion yen, although the U.S. does not publish costs of maintaining its bases in the country. Some military experts have said it’s probably cheaper for the U.S. to keep its troops in Japan than to bring them home.

Japan’s statement was confirmed by a State Department official on customary condition of anonymity. 

During the Trump administration, the U.S. sought to increase payments for hosting American forces as much as five-fold. While then-President Donald Trump largely focused his demands on South Korea, those negotiations were seen as potentially impacting any future U.S. deal with Japan. 

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