Japan’s parliament on Friday approved a new five-year, $8.6 billion deal with the United States to welcome American troops to the island nation.
Under the agreement, Japan would spend 1.05 trillion yen until March 2027 to cover joint military exercises and expenses necessary to operate facilities used by US forces and Japanese personnel working on US bases. in the country, The Associated Press reported.
The budget also includes a new funding category of up to 20 billion yen, or $164 million, to purchase advanced virtual combat training systems for use in joint exercises between the US and Japanese armies.
The deal would come at a critical time for the U.S.-Japan military alliance due to growing threats from China and North Korea. This last Friday released dramatic footage of its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, its 12th missile test this year.
The close alliance with Japan is seen as particularly vital in countering China’s ambitions, whether militarily in the Indo-Pacific or its economic coercion in the region and globally.
The new deal would also signal that U.S.-Japan relations are back on track after being strained under the Trump administration.
Ancient President Trump had pushed for Tokyo to quadruple its cost-sharing of hosting US troops or risk losing their presence on the island nation.
The Japanese government has described the support dollars as necessary to bolster the alliance between Washington and Tokyo, rather than for “kindness” as it was once considered, according to the AP.
Japan has also expanded its joint exercises with partners such as Australia, India, France, the UK and Germany.