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International relations

US demanded Japan pay $8bn annually for troops: Bolton

Ex-official says in book Trump urged using troop withdrawal threat as leverage

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference on the final day of the G20 lsummit in Osaka, Japan on June 29, 2019. Former adviser John Bolton says in a book that Trump demanded last year that Japan pay $8 billion annually to support its hosting of American troops.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- The United States demanded last year that Japan pay $8 billion annually as expenses to host American troops, more than four times the current amount Tokyo shoulders, former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said in his new book.

During his trip to Japan in July 2019, Bolton conveyed U.S. President Donald Trump's request to a senior Japanese government official, according to the book to be published Tuesday. Kyodo News obtained it before it hits bookshelves.

The sum is about quadruple the amount currently shouldered by Japan under the name of host nation support for U.S. troops stationed in Japan under the long-standing security alliance.

The book also revealed that Trump urged Bolton to use the threat of pulling U.S. troops out of Japan as leverage in negotiations on host-nation support.

Despite having built a rapport with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump has criticized bilateral obligations under the decades-old alliance as one-sided and unfair.

When media reports emerged previously that Bolton was demanding Tokyo pay more, Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga had denied them. In fiscal 2019, Japan allocated 197.4 billion yen (about 1.8 billion) to host the troops.

Bolton said in the upcoming book that when he returned to Washington and briefed Trump, the president said, while also referring to a demand for $5 billion in host-nation support from South Korea, that "the way to get the $8 and $5 billion annual payments, respectively, was to threaten to withdraw all U.S. forces."

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