Japan Press Weekly
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No more esympathyf budget expenditure for U.S forces in Japan!
Akahata editorial (excerpts)
The House of Councilors discussion on a bill to extend for three more years the gsympathy budgeth for U.S. forces in Japan is entering its final stage. It is Japanfs commitment to shouldering the financial cost of the stationing of U.S. Forces in Japan that goes beyond the scope of the Status of U.S. Forces Agreement (SOFA)
With the bill to extend the Japan-U.S. gspecial agreementsh likely to be rejected by the House of Councilors for the first time under the present Constitution, the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties are intent on railroading through the bill in the House of Representatives using the system allowing the House of Representatives to override the decision of the other chamber after holding a joint conference of the two houses.
When Japan enacted the so-called gsympathyh budget in 1978 to pay for extra costs for the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan, the amount was 6.2 billion yen and its usage was limited to payment of fringe benefits to Japanese employees at U.S. bases but has grown to more than 208 billion yen (about 2 billion dollars).
Providing such a gsympathyh budget is an extraordinary idea and extremely rare in the world. The 2004 Report on Allied Contributions to the Common Defense shows that the amount of Japanfs contributions account for 52 percent of the total shouldered by 27 countries that allow U.S. forces to be stationed in their countries. This is why the United States commends Japan for providing the gmost generoush contributions among its allies.
The Japanese government says the gsympathyh budget is justifiable because U.S. Forces stationed in Japan are defending Japan. That is not true. They are not tasked to gdefend Japan.h The United States regards Japan as a major strategic U.S. stronghold for military intervention anywhere in the world. For U.S. forces, Japan is a convenient stepping-stone to implement the U.S. global strategy, contrary to the Japanese governmentfs assertions.
It is also important to note the fact that crimes committed by U.S. servicemen, such as the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl, are not in decline. In Yokosuka where the United States has a huge naval base, the number of felony crimes involving U.S. military personnel is increasing, including the recent murder of a taxi driver. How absurd it is for Japan to give gsympathyh to U.S. forces that are causing unceasing pains to the Japanese people.
The gsympathyh budget helps to enable the United States to continue to maintain its 40,000 troops in Japan. The United States has stated, gMaintaining U.S. forces in Japan is much cheaper.h
We must get the gsympathyh budget completely abolished in order to establish a peaceful Japan without U.S. military bases.
- Akahata, April 23, 2008
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