U.S.-Japan Burden Sharing:

Japan Has Increased Its Contributions but Could Do More

NSIAD-89-188: Published: Aug 15, 1989. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 1989.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies' and Japan's efforts to share the common defense burden, focusing on: (1) the status of U.S. burden-sharing initiatives proposed to NATO and Japan since 1980; (2) NATO and Japanese responsiveness to those initiatives; and (3) the allies' records in meeting their military commitments.

GAO found that: (1) although the United States urged Japan to increase defense expenditures and accelerate the completion of its original defense program, Japan did not begin to spend at a level necessary to address its minimum defense requirements until 1986; (2) Japan was 4 years into a 5-year defense program that it had fully funded; (3) the Department of Defense did not consider Japan's self-defense efforts as a way to reduce U.S. responsibilities or to decrease U.S. defense costs, but believed that enhanced Japanese capabilities would reduce regional security risks and increase U.S. regional flexibility; (4) Japan's cash contributions for U.S. support increased from $711 million in 1981 to $1.7 billion in 1987, a 137-percent increase, but due to currency fluctuation, the real increase was only 44 percent; (5) rising Japanese labor costs prompted an agreement for Japan to pay half of total Japanese labor costs associated with support of U.S. forces; (6) Japan started a program to fund military construction to improve facilities for U.S. forces; (7) although Japan increased its contributions, it could assume more yen-based costs, given its good economic health; (8) although increases in Japan's future defense spending were unlikely, U.S. officials noted that Japan could contribute more to peacekeeping efforts and development assistance; and (9) Japan pledged to increase its development assistance and announced a 1989 foreign aid budget equivalent to $11.1 billion.

Dec 14, 2017

Nov 21, 2017

Nov 13, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Oct 19, 2017

Oct 12, 2017

Oct 4, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here