Japan in 2002 pays 655.7 billion yen for U.S. Forces in Japan

Japan is paying a total of 655.7 billion yen (5.45 billion dollars) in FY 2002 (Apr. 2002-Mar. 2003) for the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan, including 250 billion yen for the so-called "sympathy budget." Akahata of October 7 reported this based on a Foreign Ministry report on Japan's host-nation support.

The figure includes 16.5 billion yen under the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO), which will be used for relocating bases within the island and building a state-of-the-art U.S. base in Okinawa. Akahata said:

The payment of the 250 billion yen from the "sympathy budget" is not obligatory under either the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty or the Status of U.S. Forces in Japan Agreement (SOFA).

In 1995, the sum of Japan's payment exceeded the 600 billion yen mark (625.7 billion yen), and went on to increase since then.

In the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee on September 11, 2000, both governments signed a new five-year special agreement on the "sympathy budget." As a result, Japan for two consecutive years saw a nominal reduction in payments for labor costs as well as water and electricity charges for the USFJ.

However, the sum of about 656 billion yen is still great in comparison with other budgetary accounts: 488.1 billion yen for the jobless; 186.1 billion yen for smaller companies; 151.5 billion yen for education-related facilities; and 112.7 billion yen for scholarships.

The U.S. forces in Japan are depending a great deal on Japanese tax money to remain here. (end)