Japan Approves Bigger Budget to Host US Forces, Strengthens Alliance | Politics

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliament approved a new deal with the United States on Friday, approving Japanese government spending of more than 1 trillion yen ($8 billion) to host U.S. troops as the two sides bolster their alliance military in the face of the growing threat from China and North Korea in the region.

The 1.05 trillion yen ($8.6 billion) host nation support budget covers the purchase of advanced arsenals used in their joint military exercises, as well as utilities and facilities used by U.S. troops and their Japanese employees working on US bases in the country until March 2027. .

The upcoming five-year budget includes a new funding category of up to 20 billion yen ($164 million) for the purchase of advanced virtual combat training systems for joint exercises between the two forces.

The roughly 200 billion yen ($1.6 billion) for the first year is included in the fiscal 2022 national defense budget — a record 5.4 trillion yen ($44 billion) — at from April.

The Japanese government now describes the host nation support budget as necessary to strengthen the alliance, rather than for “benevolence” as previously considered.

Japan has been increasing its defense budget and capabilities for about a decade and is currently revising its key national security strategy in the face of threats from China, North Korea and now Russia.

Japan is particularly concerned about Chinese military activities in the waters of the East China Sea surrounding the Japanese-held Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and also calls Diaoyu.

Japan has greatly expanded its joint exercises with the United States as well as with other partners, including Australia, India, France, Britain and Germany, who share their concern over the pressure from China for its territorial claims in the region, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

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