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Japan to pay over $9B to host US forces for next 5 years

Japan to pay over $9B to host US forces for next 5 years
Foreign Minister Hayashi signs agreement during '2+2' virtual meet of two countries' foreign and defense ministers

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - Japan agreed on Friday to pay the US over $9 billion for hosting its forces in the country for the next five years, beginning in April.

Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi signed an agreement with the US interim ambassador in Tokyo, Raymond Greene, on Friday during a “two plus two” virtual meeting of the two countries' foreign and defense ministers.

Around 50,000 US soldiers are stationed in Japan under a bilateral security treaty, and Tokyo pays what is referred to as “omoiyari yosan,” or a considerate budget.

Japan's spending on US forces over the next five years will be 1.055 trillion yen (approximately $9.1 billion), which means an annual increase of about $88 million, Japanese public broadcaster NHK News reported.

Hayashi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi met online with their US counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, early on Friday, where the Japanese side reiterated Tokyo's request that the US impose curfews on its bases in the country.

Hayashi had asked Blinken earlier this week that omicron variant-driven cases were on the rise among US soldiers and that strict antivirus measures were required.

The governors of the provinces that host US bases have attributed surges of COVID-19 cases to the presence of the US bases, and Japan is mulling declaring a quasi-emergency in Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima provinces to stem the spread of the virus.

Following the virtual meeting, both sides issued a joint statement in which they discussed China's rising maritime activities, the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and North Korea's missile and nuclear development.

source: News Feed
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