Early in the election campaign Donald Trump was saying how he is going to scale down the pricey global US empire of bases, which wouldn’t have been a bad idea at all. Unfortunately he soon toned it down saying the bases can stay because he was going to make the host nations pay for them.
The reaction from Japan which hosts 113 of America’s 800 bases abroad? We’re paying enough as it is, thank you very much:
Japan is now paying “enough” for the cost of stationing U.S. forces in the country, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said Friday, though she was silent on how the government would respond if the next U.S. administration led by Donald Trump demands an increase in Japan’s budget.
“I believe it is enough. We are bearing the costs of what we ought to pay at present,” Inada told a press conference, referring to the nearly 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) in so-called host-nation support paid every year.
US pretends its military installations are there for the sake of Japan, and Japanese politicians run with that because otherwise they would naturally have to resist foreign military presence.
In reality US military is in Japan for the same reason Japan was disarmed after WWII and given a pacifist constitution — to enhance the power of Washington.
Japan in time embraced the disarmament because it gave it a great out from being the pawn of the American empire. A pacifist Japan could stay out of US military adventures in Asia without openly defying its imperial master.
The US military installations however have never been popular, particularly with those who live closest to them. If Trump is seriously going to insist that Japan coughs up even more money for their maintenance (did he even know Tokyo is already contributing nearly $2 billion?) he may finally force Japanese politicians to grow a backbone and show the Americans the exit door.
It’s safe to say that if that were to happen Trump wouldn’t win himself any friends in the United States Seventh Fleet.