Trump blackmailed Japan by withdrawing US troops from the region, Bolton said

WASHINGTON, (BM) – The US president Donald Trump has blackmailed Japan by withdrawing US troops from the region if they [Japan – ed.] if they do not pay the $ 8 billion he has demanded for the deployment of US troops, learned citing former US national security advisor John Bolton.

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The US military has about 50,000 military personnel and 23 bases in Japan, with 23,500 more troops stationed in South Korea. The Japan deployment includes the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet and its 60-70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 personnel. US troops have been stationed in both countries for nearly three quarters of a century.

US President Donald Trump asked Tokyo to cough up $8 billion per year for costs associated with the stationing of US troops in Japan, on pain of their withdrawal, former national security advisor John Bolton has claimed in his explosive new memoir ‘The Room Where It Happened’.

According to Bolton, he met with his Japanese counterpart Shotaro Yachi in July 2019 to inform him that Trump wanted Tokyo to pay “$8 billion annually” starting in 2020, up from about $2.5 billion the country was supposedly paying at the time.

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However, according to the Japan Times, Japan allocated the equivalent of $1.8 billion, not $2.5 billion, to host the US troops in 2019.

Trump reportedly calculated the $8 billion figure based on a “cost plus 50 percent” amount, that is the actual full cost of the troops’ deployment, plus a 50 percent ‘protection’ premium.

Bolton said Trump, a former businessman, believed that threatening to withdraw US troops was the best way to force allies to pay, since it “puts you in a very strong bargaining position.”

Asked to comment on Bolton’s claims on Monday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied that Washington asked Tokyo to increase its share of the ‘cost-sharing burden’, saying talks on the issue haven’t begun yet.

The two countries are expected to start talks on a new Special Measures Agreement on hosting US troops later this year, with the current one expected to run out in 2021.

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