Diet Passes Payment Accord For U.S. Bases

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Japan Times
April 26, 2008 By Kyodo News
The Diet on Friday approved a controversial Japanese-U.S. agreement that requires Japan to pay some ¥140 billion annually to help run U.S. military bases in Japan for three years through fiscal 2010.
The bilateral accord, already delayed, will take effect in early May, Foreign Ministry officials said.
The opposition-dominated House of Councilors rejected the deal at a plenary session earlier in the day as the opposition camp complained that some of the money was being used to hire employees at entertainment facilities, such as bars and bowling alleys.
But the accord, which cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, went into effect because votes on treaties in the powerful Lower House, including the bilateral accord, take precedence under a constitutional provision.
It is the first time in Japan that a treaty has been approved using the special provision.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura suggested that the delay of the accord would not affect bilateral ties.
"I haven't heard any particular reactions from the U.S. side," he said.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer told reporters that the Democratic Party of Japan's opposition to the accord was "unfortunate."
"We have tried to work all the years to ensure that that agreement was above partisanship because we believe that a strong U.S.-Japan alliance was absolutely critical to the security interests of both Japan and the United States," Schieffer said.
The old agreement expired March 31 due to a lack of parliamentary approval for a government plan to extend it to fiscal 2008 from April 1. After it expired, the U.S. began covering the expenses.