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The dollar’s steady slide against the Japanese yen — with Tuesday’s rate the lowest since 1995 — has triggered another cost-of-living allowance increase for U.S. servicemembers in mainland Japan and Okinawa, according to online figures posted Tuesday by the Pentagon’s per diem committee.

COLA jumped four points on Okinawa and areas in mainland Japan, including Misawa Air Base, Yokosuka Naval Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Camp Zama and in Tokyo.

It’s up two points at Yokota Air Base, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Sasebo Naval Base and Camp Fuji.

The increases will appear in servicemembers’ next paychecks.

There were no changes in South Korea, where the won’s value agains the dollar has plummeted this year.

On Dec. 1, the COLA rate dropped eight points in Seoul — from 110 to 102 — and COLA was eliminated elsewhere on the peninsula.

The allowance boost in mainland Japan and Okinawa comes as the yen continues surging to 13-year highs against the U.S. greenback.

On Tuesday, the dollar’s exchange rate was 88 at military banking facilities.

According to, the yen traded at 88.53 per dollar last Friday in Tokyo and New York, its strongest showing since August 1995.

It sat at 90.51 on Tuesday afternoon.

"The dollar’s downtrend against the yen will continue," Masafumi Yamamoto, head of foreign-exchange strategy for Japan at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Tokyo and a former Bank of Japan currency trader, told Bloomberg in an online report Tuesday.

Yen and won exchange rates are reviewed at least twice a month by the U.S. military’s per diem allowance committee to adjust overseas military COLA as needed.

The allowance helps to offset the high cost of living abroad.

A COLA index is used as a guideline to determine how much money servicemembers receive.

The actual cash amounts they get depend upon duty station, rank, time in service and number of dependents.

For example, an E-6 with 10 years of service and three dependents living at Yokosuka can expect a $100 bump in the next pay period because of the latest adjustment.

Meanwhile, a technical sergeant at Yokota with a decade in the military and three family members will pick up an extra $60.

COLA fluctuations are based on two surveys — the Living Pattern Survey that studies where troops shop and what they buy, and the Retail Price Schedule that measures how much those items cost at the stores.


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