Japan to keep paying $2 billion for US troop support

Japan’s government agreed Tuesday to continue contributing $2.2 billion a year toward the cost of stationing American troops in the country.

Under the agreement with the United States, Japan’s share will remain at the current 188 billion yen ($2.2 billion) through March 2016. The current pact expires next March.

Japan had sought a cut in its payment during months of negotiations on the renewal because of economic woes. But officials agreed on no reduction after tensions on the Korean peninsula and worries over China’s growing military might highlighted the U.S. military’s role as a deterrent for security threats.

"As both Japan and the U.S. are in extremely tight fiscal conditions, we are striving to act under the spirit of our alliance," Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said. "The agreement to maintain the amount is reasonable."

The payment supports the 47,000 American service members based in Japan under a bilateral security pact. Tokyo’s share is about a third of the total, and about three times what Germany pays to host U.S. forces on its soil.

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