Japan has proposed to the administration of new U.S. President Joe Biden signing a tentative one-year deal on sharing costs for hosting American troops while negotiations on a longer-term agreement continue, government sources said Sunday.
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi suggested the move during a phone call last week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussions at the working level have also gone in the same direction, the sources said, adding Washington has voiced support for the idea.
Tokyo shoulders part of the cost of stationing around 55,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan under a bilateral security treaty, also known as host nation support, and the current five-year deal is set to expire in March.
Working-level talks on a fresh agreement began in November under former President Donald Trump, who had criticized the alliance as one-sided and pressured Tokyo to vastly increase its burden, but were put on hold until Biden's administration was up and running.
With another round of negotiations set to take place this week, going forward Japan is looking to emphasize its contributions in new domains including outer space and cybersecurity as well as strengthen the alliance in the face of security challenges from China and North Korea.
Japan has earmarked roughly 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) in its draft initial budget for fiscal 2021 for hosting American troops, about the same amount as the previous year.