The US and Japan reached an agreement on a new cost-sharing deal for Tokyo to continue hosting around 50,000 US troops.
Under the deal, Japan will pay $9.2 billion to support the US presence over the next five years, an increase of about $650 million from what Tokyo has been paying. Negotiations for Japan to increase cost-sharing started under the Trump administration.
The Japanese funds will cover the cost to pay Japanese staff working at the US military facilities, upgrades to the many US bases in the country, and to develop a system so Japan’s military can virtually join drills conducted in the United States.
With the US military now focused on China, the US presence in Japan is a vital part of the Pentagon’s strategy. The US is encouraging Japan to boost its own military, and Japan’s new prime minister is exploring options to give Tokyo the ability to launch attacks on other countries, which would require changing the country’s pacifist constitution.
The US is also pushing Japan to increase military cooperation with other countries. Japan is a member of the Quad, an informal group that is viewed by hawks in Washington as a potential foundation for a NATO-style alliance in Asia. The other Quad members are the US, India, and Australia.