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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 10 - 16  > JCP Hatano demands termination of Japan-US special agreement regarding 'sympathy budget'
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2021 March 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

JCP Hatano demands termination of Japan-US special agreement regarding 'sympathy budget'

March 13, 2021
Japanese Communist Party Dietmember Hatano Kimie at a House of Representatives plenary session on March 12 demanded the termination of the Japan-U.S. special agreement which provides a basis for Japan's so-called "sympathy budget" for the stationing of U.S. military in Japan.

The government is seeking Diet approval of the amended protocol in order to extend the bilateral special pact, which is set to expire at the end of March, for one more year. The amended protocol is now under Diet discussion.

The special agreement attaches financial burdens on Japan for labor costs as well as utility charges at U.S. military facilities, and costs associated with the relocation of U.S. training exercises as part of the sympathy budget. The FY2021 draft budget includes a sympathy budget of 201.7 billion yen, and 76% of this amount will be used in line with the special agreement.

Hatano said that Japan in fiscal 1978 started providing funds to pay for fringe benefits for Japanese workers at U.S. bases as well as for maintenance of U.S. military facilities as part of the sympathy budget in order to respond to U.S. demand. She pointed out that Japan has honored the special agreement since FY1987, and that the burdens Japan has been shouldering total almost eight trillion yen.

Hatano cited Article 24 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which stipulates that the U.S. will bear "without cost to Japan all expenditures incident to the maintenance of the United States armed forces in Japan". She demanded that the government rescind the special agreement and ask the U.S. administration to abide by the SOFA.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu in response said, "The special agreement is just a provisional, limited, and exceptional measure," ignoring the fact that 33 years have passed since this agreement was first concluded.
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