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Japan, US Reach Agreement on Military Hosting

Japan says it has agreed to continue spending $2.2 billion a year to cover some of the cost of hosting U.S. forces in the country.

The Japanese government said Tuesday it reached agreement with the United States to keep Japan's share of U.S. military base costs at the same level until 2016. An existing agreement between the two allies on the allocation of costs will expire next March.

The United States has 47,000 military personnel in Japan under a 50-year-old security pact. The Associated Press says Japan's share of labor and utility expenses for U.S. military facilities is about one-third of the total.

Japan initially wanted to pay less for the facilities due to the government's weak finances, while the United States urged Tokyo to pay more because of China's growing military assertiveness in the region and renewed tensions between the two Koreas.

Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa says the agreement to keep payment levels the same is a "reasonable" compromise.

Japan's financial support for U.S. military facilities peaked in 1999 and decreased steadily in subsequent years due to its economic problems and public criticism of the costs.