18-005 | April 10, 2018
Beginning in mid-April, service members throughout Japan will have the opportunity to participate in the Overseas Cost of Living Allowance Living Pattern Survey and have a direct impact on future COLA rates.
The LPS will be available online April 15 - May 31 for personnel stationed at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Yokohama North Dock and May 1 - 31 for personnel at all other areas in Japan.
The survey is designed to capture data on shopping patterns of military service members stationed in Japan. The data collected from the LPS will eventually be used to assist in the determination of Overseas Cost of Living Allowance rates.
“The purpose of COLA is to ensure everyone has the same purchasing power overseas as they would back in the states," said Chief Master Sgt. Terrence A. Greene, United States Forces, Japan command chief. “The quality of life of our service members and their families is important, and COLA provides that buffer to make sure it remains consistent.”
When taking the survey, service members will be asked about where they shop and how much they spend -- on base or off base -- and what percentage of items they buy from the commissary and Exchange.
U.S. Forces, Japan leaders are encouraging maximum participation from service members in order to collect full and accurate data that will have a direct influence on COLA rates.
“You’re lucky, you get to influence COLA for the next three years,” added Greene. “The most important thing is to make sure that the moment the survey is live, we need as many people taking it as we can.”
In the situation where the service member may be deployed or does not have access to the internet, the service member’s spouse can take the survey on their behalf.
Survey links will be available at https://www.usfj.mil.
For additional information on COLA and the LPS Survey, please reference the Defense Travel Management Website, http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/cola.cfm.