Japan could cut labor costs for US base entertainment facilities
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Japan’s Finance Ministry says the country should stop picking up the tab for labor costs at entertainment facilities — such as bowling alleys and movie theaters — on U.S. military installations, Jiji Press reported Thursday.
The ministry’s Fiscal System Council, which serves as an adviser to Finance Minister Taro Aso, is set to formally propose the plan Monday in Tokyo, according to the report.
Every few years, Japan and the United States approve a “host-nation support” pact, which pays for Japanese employee salaries, utilities and base maintenance. The last one was signed in January 2011.
Nearly 190 billion yen — more than $2 billion — has been earmarked for host-nation support in the current budget that runs through March 31, the report said, and more than 116 billion yen from those funds go toward labor costs.
Japan has been reducing the amount it pays for U.S. bases over the past decade from a high of $3.17 billion in 1999. The 2011 agreement cut 2 percent of the roughly 23,000-person Japanese workforce on U.S. bases.
The ministry will also seek a review of Japanese money designed to cover housing costs for U.S. military personnel and their families, the report said.