U.S. troops in mainland Japan and Okinawa will see a drop in their cost-of-living allowance for the second half of April.

Most locations will see a four- point decline, according to new rates posted this week on the Pentagon’s Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee’s Web site.

An E-1 at Sasebo Naval Base will see $31 less in COLA in the next paycheck. An O-5 with 14 years of service and three dependents on Okinawa will see COLA shrink by $81 in the next paycheck, or by about $160 a month.

The per diem committee this time used an exchange rate of 97.03 yen when adjusting COLA.

For the April 1-15 pay period, COLA was calculated with an exchange rate of 92.9 yen.

U.S. Forces Japan Locality Coordinator Ron Stewart noted that the committee sometimes adjusts the exchange rate up or down to make up for periods when people are underpaid or overpaid.

On Wednesday, the military exchange rate at U.S. bases in Japan was 99 yen.

The dollar appears to be inching up against the Japanese yen this month. In March, the exchange rate on the local economy averaged 100.83, with the lowest at 95.77, according to Bank of Japan figures.

This month, the exchange rate so far has hovered around 101 and 102 yen.

COLA is adjusted up to twice a month based on local currency fluctuations.

It’s intended to offset the higher cost of living for servicemembers at overseas locations.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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