Trump: If Japan is Attacked, They Can Watch on Sony TVs While US Fights World War III

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon arrival at the venue of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019. (Carl Court/Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon arrival at the venue of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019. (Carl Court/Pool Photo via AP)

President Donald Trump questioned the fairness of a decades-old defense agreement between the U.S. and Japan this week, saying the treaty requires American troops to defend the Japanese without them having to do the same.

The treaty, which was first signed after World War II and last amended nearly 60 years ago, gives the U.S. the right to base military troops in Japan in exchange for a commitment to defend the country in the event of an attack.

In a Wednesday interview with Fox Business Network, Trump said too many countries are taking "tremendous advantage of the United States."

"We have a treaty with Japan -- if Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III," the president said. "We will go in and protect them and fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs.

"But if we're attacked, Japan doesn't have to help us at all," he added. "They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack."

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Trump's came a day before he was set to arrive in Japan to attend the G-20 economic summit. Earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported the commander in chief had privately mused about withdrawing from the agreement all together.

About 50,000 U.S. troops and their dependents are currently stationed in Japan. More U.S. forces have moved into the Asia-Pacific region in recent years in an effort to counter China's growing influence there.

Okinawa houses the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, where leaders are moving ahead with plans to relocate a Marine Corps air base despite fierce opposition from citizens there.

"Trump regards Japan's repeated efforts to move a large U.S. military base in Okinawa as a sort of land-grab," Bloomberg reported.

Citing unnamed sources, the outlet said Trump has raised the idea of seeking financial compensation for American forces to relocate.

CBS News reported in May that Japan pays more than $5 billion to host U.S. forces -- "far more than any other American ally."

The Council on Foreign Relations describes the agreement between the U.S. and Japan as "one of the region's most important military relationships" and "an anchor of the U.S. security role in Asia."

"The partnership has endured several geopolitical transitions, rooting its framework in the postwar security environment and expanding in the aftermath of the Cold War with the rise of China and a nuclearizing North Korea," according to the nonpartisan think tank.

The comments about Japan's contributions are just the latest example of Trump questioning allies' financial commitments to the U.S. He has routinely called on NATO allies to increase their military spending.

Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday that just seven NATO members are paying their fair share.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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