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Does Japan need to host any U.S. bases at all?

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Japan would be better off without the burden of hosting U.S. bases, the U.S. would be better off without the burden of having to maintain bases in Japan. The war has been over for well over 70 years now, it's time for the U.S. to amicably pull out of Japan (and most of its other foreign outposts) for the sake of both countries.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I suppose Japan does not strictly need to host US bases for the simple reason that they could expand their own defence capabilities by buying up the same US equipment and managing it themselves. The underlying question is probably whether Japan has the money and political will to do this, and whether the US presence deters Japan's enemies to a much greater extent than if US forces were based only a few hours away on Guam or Hawaii (or conversely whether the US bases actually make Japan a more likely target in the event of a Sino-American conflict).

I'm a bit torn on this. As a non-American foreigner, I actually appreciate that the US presence probably ensures Japan won't slip back into being a totalitarian state (something that seems more likely in recent years). It also acts as a potent reminder to Japanese people of what happens when you fail to restrain your own government. But I also think that bases should not be concentrated in Okinawa to the extent that they currently are. I'm sure many US troops would also like a change of scenery.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

As an American it would be nice to save some tax money, especially from these useless wars. Its also time for the us military to start treating the Okinawans better.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Sensato, the bases are not about WW2, they are about showing power against China and N. Korea.

M3x3, Japan pays for most of the bases; 75%, I believe, so they have the money. Political will? Well, non-combatant Abe has the desire. Good points about a potent reminder and Okinawa.

JWTNSSN, I don't think you'll save any tax money if the US pulls out of Japan; that cash will just be used for maintaining bases in the US. Good point about treating Okinawans better, though.

I think the US should pull out and let Japan protect itself. They pay for it now anyway. Now, put their own youth at risk instead of Americans. Will Japan be able to fill the vacuum when the US leaves? That's another question.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@borscht

Japan pays for most of the bases; 75%

Yes, no doubt that Japan does pay a large about to support the bases. I believe the amount and percentage is hotly debated, but it's officially around $1.7 billion of direct support.

However, I think you'll agree that Japan certainly does not contribute anything towards the cost and development of US military aircraft, submarines, destroyers, aircraft carriers etc. I'm not an expert on this but I suspect this dwarfs the cost of paying utilities and salaries of Japanese staff on the bases. The Osprey program alone cost $35 billion dollars, the F22 $60 odd billion. The USS George Washington was $6.2 billion. These are assets that Japan is currently getting the benefit of at just a fraction of the cost.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If the US military pulls out of all foreign facilities then you'll have a sudden spike of unemployed veterans like after the Vietnam war since the US will not be able to house all military personnel and would have to discharge them in a massive scale.

Japan also does not have any obligations to acquire US made equipment and would probably develop them domestically or partner up with various other nations like India, Australia,Britain, etc. besides the US to develop them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@M3x3

Thanks for the information. Good point. Further evidence that the US pulling out of Japan will not reduce our taxes. It also brings up the question, will Japan buy these assets from the US or develop their own? Do they have the money for either?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

borscht

If you are talking about the land then US doesn't own any in Japan. The equipment that is stationed in Japan will most probably be sold to various nations but at rock bottom prices or moth balled. Either way the US will not be able to regain the amount they had paid in developing them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As an American it would be nice to save some tax money

Not a dime of American tax dollars goes to the operation and maintenance of overseas bases. Those are all owned and operated by the nations that host them and used at the pleasure of the host nation. At any point if that host nation wants to nullify their Mutual Defense treaties with the US, they can and the Americans will leave with all their gear and personnel.

This is a loaded question because its not as much of a "need" as it is a "want."

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

CrucialS

I have no idea where you are getting your information about costs from, but that is completely untrue. And there are costs besides just operation and maintenance of bases that are passed onto US taxpayers.

For example, tax dollars are used to send troops and their families over and back, provide medical support, provide schooling for children, provide overseas pay incentives, provide legal assistance, purchase and send equipment and supplies, provide security, and many other costs for supporting approximately 50,000 American citizens in Japan would be cheaper or non-existent for troops in the US.

You're right though, it is about wants and needs, and it would seem that right now there is no plan to change the status quo. Besides Okinawa, there are not frequent protests at any of the bases in the rest of Japan, and plenty of success stories to share from relationships between the US and Japanese forces and surrounding communities.

Does Japan NEED the US military, maybe not? But do they WANT it? it would seem so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

its time for US to pull out of Japan . Japan can provide for its own defense.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Cruisin, I was strictly focusing on the bases' structures and the infrastructure to keep them running being owned and maintained by the GOJ. Sorry that I wasn't clear.

http://www.usfj.mil/Portals/80/Documents/Instructions/32-1002%20(USFJI).pdf

http://www.usfj.mil/Portals/80/Documents/Instructions/32-1001%20(USFJI).pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unfortunately yes.... as long as Japan is dependant to the US for self protection.. and as long as Japan doesn't have a strong Self Defense Armed Forces (国防軍)... the presence of the US is a must

0 ( +1 / -1 )

IMO, the primary purpose of the U.S. military and its bases in Japan is to keep potential enemies at bay. It has little to do with propping up local economies or maintaining an occupation force in Japan.

In the future, maybe Japan will have a stronger military so that the U.S. military in Japan is no longer necessary, but that time hasn't arrived . . .yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CrucialS,

Thanks for sharing the source! I know what you meant, but I just want to be sure that people realize that there are increased costs on the US taxpayers associated with keeping overseas bases.

Whether that is good or bad is entirely up to opinion, but certainly there are widely publicized criticisms. So much that a lot of times the great things happening in these communities are unfortunately overshadowed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To me the question should be "Does Japan need to host any foregn-power bases at all?".

If Japan is strong, then no.

If she is has obvious weaknesses, such as (but not exclusively) a lack of nuclear weapons, then probably yes. If the US pulled out, China and Russia would probably be interested in stepping in, so this is not exclusively a question regarding a US presence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@nandakandamanda

Another question to consider is South Korea. Without the U.S. military bases in Japan for added support, it would be more difficult for the U.S. to come to S. Korea's aid in a crisis situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, the US won't save anything by pulling out of anywhere. The industry surrounding the whole weapons business will find some way to keep prying money out of the US Gov regardless.

Do the Japanese still need a US base? I'm not sure. A combination of a certain unstable state, regional arguments over territory and so forth mean that a military force is needed around there, but as to who runs it, I can see a number of arguments for and against and Abe and his aspirations of power would be only one part of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

short simple no the war is over

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Triring: If the US military pulls out of all foreign facilities then you'll have a sudden spike of unemployed veterans like after the Vietnam war since the US will not be able to house all military personnel and would have to discharge them in a massive scale.

If only 10 percent are overseas, it doesn't seem a large effort to house them when they get back. There's lots of empty barracks, I think. Also tents.

(Guessing on this, from the linked DoD spreadsheet and from wikipedia):

Only about 10 percent of US forces are stationed overseas: 277,262 out of worldwide grand total 2,880,491.

A little over 100K of Navy and Marine forces are shipboard (or similar) and are listed under the US subtotal on the Armed Forces Pacific, Armed Forces Europe, and Armed Forces Americas lines, not in the Overseas subtotal.

A total of 45,779 are stationed in Japan.

https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dwp/rest/download?fileName=DMDC_Website_Location_Report_1609.xlsx&groupName=milRegionCountry

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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