The Dalai Lama on Monday lamented the US military presence in Japan at a press conference in Okinawa, where anti-American feeling has flared after alleged crimes by servicemen.
"It is not right to have foreign military bases, but such situations unfortunately exist all around the world," the Tibetan spiritual leader told reporters, according to Jiji Press.
Deep-seated anti-Americanism in Okinawa has intensified following the alleged rape of a local woman by two servicemen and the alleged assault on a schoolboy by another.
The second incident came days after top brass imposed a nationwide night-time curfew on all US military personnel as they looked to quell rising anger over the first case.
There are around 47,000 members of the US armed forces in Japan under a post-World War II agreement that sees Tokyo dependent on the US for protection.
But people living around the bases, particularly in Okinawa, complain of the noise and the risk of accidents, as well as a perceived crime problem linked to them.
The Dalai Lama also called on Japan and China to ease diplomatic tensions, currently high because of a dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
"China needs Japan and Japan needs China," he said, according to Jiji, echoing comments he made in the country last week.