Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the documents of the summit between then-Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and former President George Bush Senior showed that Japanese Foreign Ministry officials repeatedly emphasized to their American counterparts the need to continue the “quiet dialogue” to ensure that cost-sharing negotiations do not fail amid calls by the US Congress to impose A heavy burden for Japan.
The two countries eventually reached an agreement on so-called support for the host country, but the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1990 put Tokyo under renewed pressure to make a greater contribution to their bilateral alliance.
According to a letter from the Japanese Embassy in Washington on August 30, 1989, officials from the two countries met on that day to discuss the dialogue points of the summit scheduled for two days in the US capital.
According to the documents classified as “top secret,” a senior US official suggested to the National Security Council that the leaders agree to continue discussions on the cost-sharing agreement at the ministerial level, adding that not discussing the issue at all during the summit is “not an option.”
But Tatsuo Arima, head of the North American Affairs Office at the Japanese Foreign Ministry at the time, said that raising the negotiations that were taking place at the working level to the ministerial level “would give a strong impression that Japan will (or be) under pressure” to significantly increase its share of the burden of hosting US forces.
The records quoted Arima as saying, “The current administration will face a crisis, and Japan’s continuing contributions in this field may be endangered.” He called on the allies to continue “quiet dialogue” and resolve their differences behind closed doors.
In a meeting hours before the summit, then US Secretary of State James Baker told his Japanese counterpart, Taro Nakayama, that calls were growing in Congress for Japan to make a greater contribution to the alliance, stressing the need for “responsibility sharing.”
Bush said, during the summit, that Washington understands that support for the host country is a sensitive matter for Tokyo without pushing and focusing on the issue, according to the records.
After Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait, and a US-led coalition headed to the Gulf War in August 1990, Tokyo was again under pressure to contribute more, this time with the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces.
While Japan was unable to do so under its constitution that forbids war, it angered the United States, as US Vice President Dan Coyle told Kaifu during a visit to Tokyo that the absence of Japanese forces in the Middle East was “noticed” … and Japan will end up spending 13 billion. $ To support the coalition to compensate for not putting soldiers on the ground
Kaifu’s trip to Washington came amid mounting tensions over the US trade deficit with Japan, which emerged as an economic powerhouse after rebuilding after its defeat in World War II.
Shinobu said that this episode has many similarities with the current state of Japan-US relations, as negotiations for a new cost-sharing agreement – which must be renewed every five years – began in October.
Currently, about 55 thousand American soldiers are stationed in Japan under a security treaty of 1960 .. The cost-sharing agreement covers the costs of facilities and labor for US bases as well as the expenses of transporting training away from populated areas in Japan.