Saturday, March 29, 2008

Japan Misses US Bases Deadline

Japan misses deadline for budget for US bases
NHK Online
Updated at 17:45(JST) Mar. 29

Japan's parliament has effectively missed a deadline next week for approving a budget for supporting US military bases in the country.

The government wants approval for a new Japan-US accord stipulating how much Japan will pay toward the cost of supporting US military facilities for the next 3 years. The current accord expires on Monday.

At a meeting of the lower-house committee debating the matter on Friday, the opposition Democratic Party proposed a closer examination of the requested 3-year budget, saying it contains wasteful spending.

The committee agreed to meet again in April, effectively eliminating the possibility of parliamentary approval in time for the start of the new fiscal year that month.

The delay is already affecting the operation of US forces in Japan. Plans to relocate jet fighter drills from Okinawa to some other locations in Japan have been cancelled.

Japan usually pays a certain share of the wages of Japanese people working at US bases, but the United States is now footing the bills as a stop-gap measure.

Foreign minister Masahiko Koumura says there is no doubt the budget delay is undermining US trust in Japan.

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