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US begs Japan for continuation of esympathy budgetf
- Akahata editorial

The U.S. government is expressing its desire for an increase in the so-called gsympathy budgeth from Japan, warning beforehand against decreasing the gsympathy budgeth for the stationing of U.S. military in Japan.

A high ranking U.S. Department of State official on September 29 said that he wants the level of the gsympathy budgeth raised, and that an increase in the budget is entirely appropriate. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallace C. Gregson on the previous day also pressed Japan to increase the gsympathy budgeth on the grounds that the U.S. government will install solar-power systems on U.S. bases in Japan. In the first place, Japan has no obligation to give what amounts to charity to the U.S. forces under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The pressure being put on Japan to give more money for the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan is unacceptable.

Using edeterrencef as leverage

The special supplemental accord to the SOFA on Japanfs base-related burden will expire in March 2011. Taking this as an opportunity to exert pressure, the United States is attempting to force Japan to continue the budget and to not reduce the amount in the next fiscal yearfs budget compilation. Rather, the U.S. government is boosting its pressure on Japan to actually increase the amount in the gsympathy budget.h The U.S. high-handed attitude toward Japan is nothing but arrogant interference in Japanfs supposed sovereignty to formulate its own budget. Even Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi has stated that he is unhappy with such U.S. arrogance by saying, gThe U.S. has no right to tell us that we must not reduce the budget and that we must instead increase it.h

The SOFA stipulates that the U.S. government should bear the costs of maintaining its forces in Japan. However, after the Vietnam War, the United States repeatedly demanded that Japan share the costs of the U.S. military presence in Japan. Japan gave in to the U.S. demand in 1978 and began funding the U.S. forces by using the U.S. financial crunch as an excuse: this was the start of the gsympathy budgeth covering everything and anything from shelters for U.S. fighters to housing units for U.S. personnel.

Furthermore, the special supplemental accord to the SOFA agreed upon in 1987 requires Japan to even pay for wages of Japanese employees who work on U.S. bases, utility charges at U.S. bases, and travel expenses related to U.S. military exercises. It is so outrageous that the U.S. demand for more money is totally unacceptable.

The U.S. government urges Japan to rename the gsympathy budgeth so it can be recognized as a budget to cover Japanfs share in defense. By so doing, the U.S. can request the Japanese government to increase such a budget as much as they want under the pretext of a change in the global military situation. In fact, at the September 23 meeting with Japanfs Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly stated that it is essential for Japan to increase the budget in order to cover the cost of stationing U.S. forces in Japan as a deterrence force against China.

Japan and the United States are not experiencing hostilities with China. So why did Clinton mention the need for deterrence against China? It is because she wanted to take advantage of the Kan administration which insists on the need of a deterrence force to make Japan accept the U.S. demand for more money. In the meeting with Clinton, Maehara recognized that the U.S. forces in Japan play a role in keeping China in check and agreed with Clinton. If the Japanese government takes such an attitude, it will certainly not criticize the U.S. request for a raise in the gsympathy budgeth as being groundless.

Now is time to do away with esympathy budgetf

The stationing of the U.S. forces in Japan is also very economical for the United States. Thatfs why the U.S. presses Japan to increase the gsympathy budget.h Japan has to shoulder an ever-increasing burden of the cost for the U.S. forces realignment plan which will amount to three trillion yen and has to pay more and more costs to host the U.S. forces. As long as Japan continues to allow the U.S forces to stay in Japan rent free, the United States will never remove its bases from Japan.

The Japanese government must reject the U.S. request to increase the gsympathy budgeth . In order to remove all U.S. bases from Japan, a dismantling of the gsympathy budgeth is essential.

- Akahata, October 11, 2010

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