The Japanese government is paying half the costs of all U.S. military bases in Japan -- 100 in all. In 1994 this amounted to 594.4 billion yen, or 6 billion U.S. dollars. "Counted per head of U.S. military personnel -- 45,000 -- it amounts to 13.2 million yen, or 132,000 U.S. dollars, per person per year, about three times the average monthly wage of Japanese workers in 1993," said Mr. Ide. "The actual personnel expense is lower, however, as 250.3 billion of the 594.4 billion yen goes to construction of facilities, continuing maintenance, and salaries of all Japanese employees."
Additionally the Japanese government pays 199.5 billion yen as rent for private land used by U.S. bases, and 144.6 billion yen gift of unpaid rent for the state-owned land used by U.S. bases free of charge.
My guides said now the U.S. is demanding that ALL U.S. costs should be paid by the Japanese government. They said the
government plans to build new bases (both U.S. and JDF), and to expand existing bases into "our green hills" near Yokosaka base, which are customarily left uncluttered for environmental and historic reasons, their beauty traditionally the "wealth of Japan," yielding archaeological treasures as well as oxygen and relief from the crowded valleys and plains.
At first the government asked the U.S. military to stop construction, but the U.S. refused and the government gave in.
Due to the recession, the government proposed cutting the budget for recreational facilities such as tennis courts and swimming pools, but the U.S. said "No" and the government capitulated.
I was told by my guides that Japanese and U.S. press keep quiet about military misconduct; "Even when American sailors fight or vandalize houses, military police take no action against marauding sailors. They would apparently rather let civilian police handle the problem, since outside the base Japanese police have jurisdiction; but they don't do much because the sailors are unlikely to be prosecuted."
The Japanese government is also officially noncommittal to U.S. and U.N. pressure about sending Japan Defense Forces overseas so far, in part no doubt due to the extremely well-organized opposition they face from the broad coalition of organizations throughout Japan which are campaigning to retain the Peace Constitution.
Perhaps the most disturbing remark by Mr. Ide concerned the official government policy about plutonium, that the Japanese Constitution "does not prohibit nuclear weapons for defense. The government renounces war but does not renounce nuclear weapons. In fact, it has a new agreement with the U.S. to join research in developing plutonium.
"Japan has developed much high-tech equipment in joint research with the U.S. which ultimately is used for military purposes. Japan says the export of arms is strictly banned. But high technology can't be strictly defined as weapons or peace.
"In the 1980's India proposed to the United Nations making the Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace. Only five countries were opposed: the U.S., England, France, Israel, and Japan.
"The Japanese government way is to be vague, and very sly," Mr. Ide concluded.