TOKYO — U.S. servicemembers in Japan can expect to see another increase in their cost-of-living allowance starting Friday.

The allowance was projected to jump about two points across the board when the Department of Defense Per Diem committee adjusted the index Thursday for overseas locations. Each point is worth about $20.

Since the beginning of August, the COLA has risen as much as 10 points in some areas.

The geographical index for Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Japan, was 142 on Aug. 1; when COLA is adjusted Thursday it’s projected to be 152, meaning that location is 52 percent more expensive than the average U.S. location.

The COLA increases in the past 30 days can be “attributed to the strong yen or weak dollar,” said Maj. Keith Muschalek, Japan country coordinator for military allowances, U.S. Forces Japan.

The dollar continues to dip against the yen.

The military yen exchange rate for Friday will be 106, Muschalek said, reflecting Wednesday’s market rate of 108.84 yen per dollar.

The dollar’s slide, however, could be halted during President Bush’s visit here Saturday.

Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi hopes to rein in the rising yen by getting Bush to talk about a “strong-dollar policy” and “tolerance of market interventions.”

Some Japanese economists fear a weak dollar could slow Japan’s economic recovery. Japanese exporting firms report that their products become too expensive to compete in the U.S. market when the yen rate drops below 114.9 per dollar.

Official COLA rates can be found online at:

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