Diet OKs U.S. base cost pact

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Friday approved a special five-year pact on Japanese host-nation financial support for U.S. forces in the Asian country.

The pact was approved at the day’s plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, and the biggest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. The House of Representatives, the lower chamber, approved it earlier.

Under the accord, set to take effect April 1, Japan will shoulder ¥1,055,1 billion in costs for the U.S. forces between fiscal 2022, which starts that day, and fiscal 2026. Japan’s host-nation support will increase by ¥10 billion annually from the current level.

In December last year, the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed to increase Tokyo’s cost sharing, aiming to strengthen the U.S. deterrence and response capabilities apparently in view of China’s military buildup.

Utility costs borne by the Japanese side will be cut is stages. Meanwhile, Japan will pay up to ¥20 billion over the five years under the newly created spending category of training materials and equipment procurement, including introducing cutting-edge systems such as simulators.