The Japanese government finalized an $8.6 billion agreement to host American troops for the next five years.
The agreement, approved on March 25, goes into effect in April.
The funding will cover the purchase of advanced arsenals, as well as the cost of utilities and facilities used by U.S. soldiers. Approximately $164 million will be used to purchase virtual combat training systems for joint exercises between American and Japanese forces.
“Japan’s government now describes the host-nation support budget as necessary for strengthening the alliance, rather than for ‘kindness as it used to be considered,” reports AP News.
The island nation is facing increased threats from North Korea, Russia, and China, which is disputing Japan’s claim to the Senkaku island in the East China Sea.
The previous agreement was set to expire in March of 2021. Renegotiations were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan agreed to pay $1.91 billion for the fiscal year 2021.
Former President Donald Trump had reportedly wanted Japan to significantly increase its annual host-nation support.
In his memoir, former national security advisor to Trump John Bolton said the president wanted Japan to spend $8 billion a year on American military forces.
“The close alliance with Japan is viewed as especially vital in countering China’s ambitions, whether militarily in the Indo-Pacific or its economic coercion in the region and globally,” per The Hill.
The latest budget is larger than previous agreements by $616 million.
Roughly 55,000 American troops are stationed in Japan. In addition to reinforcing its alliance with the United States, Japan has also increased its joint training with Australia, Britain, and other nations.