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U.S. duns Japan on its Embassy rent payments

Date Posted: 2005-10-06

It’s been eight years since America’s paid the rent for its US Embassy site in Tokyo, and Japanese officials are saying ‘enough’.

Rent for the 13,000 square meters Embassy Complex in Tokyo’s Minato Ward is a nominal Y2,5 million a year, but welching on payments has the total owed now at Y20 million. Since occupying the Embassy in 1983, rent was promptly paid through 1997, after price negotiations were done in 1974.

Negotiations were again held in 1998, but the two sides failed to reach agreement. The U.S. hasn’t paid since. Japanese officials say the two countries are still negotiating, and the U.S. Embassy says a comment would “not be useful.”

The American non-payment was disclosed several days ago after Social Democratic Party lawmaker Kantoku Teruya of the House of Representatives stirred questions. Those questions forced government release of documents showing the American inaction. Teruya is an elected lawmaker from Okinawa.

A further inequity was revealed as it became public Japan is billing the British Government Y35 million each year for 35,000 square meters of land for its Embassy. Government officials refused response to queries as to why the Britain, with its Embassy in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, was costing that country nearly 600% more in annual rent than the Americans.

Teruya blasted the situation, calling it “unfair and unjust” to other nations.

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