Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Japan Defense Adviser Sees Chance to Update Alliance with US | Military.com

Japan Defense Adviser Sees Chance to Update Alliance with US | Military.com: A top defense policy adviser for Japan's government on Monday proposed using U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's demand that Tokyo contribute more to its own defense as a chance to update the countries' security alliance to reflect Japan's greater military capability and today's harsher security environment.

Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, a leading candidate to become Japan's next prime minister, said Tokyo contributes more financially for the basing of American troops than any other U.S. ally, but perhaps less militarily.

Ishiba's comment comes amid concerns in Japan that Trump might demand that Tokyo pay more for the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan under a bilateral security treaty. Japan pays about $2 billion a year, about half of the non-personnel costs of stationing the U.S. troops, while South Korea pays about $860 million a year for about 28,000 American troops based there.

Japan's pacifist constitution, written under U.S. direction after World War II, prohibits it from using force in settling international disputes. The security treaty requires the U.S. to help Japan if it is attacked and allows the U.S. to maintain military bases in Japan. Many military analysts say the U.S. benefits from having the forward-deployed bases in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

"In the future, this structure should change," Ishiba said at a news conference in Tokyo, citing the development of Japanese military capability and changes in the regional security environment, including China's growing assertiveness and North Korea's nuclear program, since the security alliance was formed about 60 years ago.