US, Japan extend cost-sharing pact for hosting American troops

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Japan and the United States have agreed to extend the arrangement on how much Tokyo pays to host U.S. troops on its soil for another year as the two countries continue to work out a new pact, the island nation announced Wednesday.

The current five-year arrangement, set to end after March, will now run until April 2022, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi announced.

Japan will pay about $1.9 billion to support roughly 55,000 U.S. forces stationed there through the extra year, and both governments are expected to sign the agreement soon, the Kyodo news agency reported.

“This shows the two countries’ strong commitment to the bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance and enhances the credibility of the alliance,” Motegi told reporters.

Top Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday referred questions on the details of the agreement to the State Department but said the United States is “very grateful for the support that we get from the Japanese government.”

The agreement follows efforts from former President Trump to pressure Japan to reportedly quadruple its payments for U.S. troops to $8 billion.

Countries that host permanent U.S. military installations traditionally pay a portion of the costs to house and equip the troops. The payment varies from country to country and in how it is given, with some allies — including Japan, which Washington uses as a base for operations in the larger Asia-Pacific region — making cash contributions.

But Trump repeatedly pressed for Tokyo and other allies to contribute more to global defense, as he continuously said their payments to the U.S. were one-sided and insufficient.

Trump also ordered a drawdown of nearly 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany as retribution for what he described as Berlin’s “delinquency” on its defense spending.

The Biden administration, however, has pledged to reinvigorate traditional U.S. alliances and froze any troop withdrawals from Germany while a global review of U.S. military force posture is completed.

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