Japan coast guard to hold training with Southeast Asian counterparts
MANILA, Philippines—Japan Coast Guard (JCG) patrol vessel JCGS Tsugaru (PLH 02) is in Southeast Asia for a scheduled deployment and a series of security engagements with some countries, including the Philippines.
The patrol ship left Japan last Nov. 5, according to the JCG.
“During the dispatch period of about one month, we will carry out training on the high seas and joint training with related organizations, and contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific waters,” JCG said.
The Indo-Pacific is becoming a key region in the last few years, where the US and China have been competing for influence. Analysts have said that middle powers, like Japan, are expected to play a significant role in ensuring stability and prosperity.
Sources from the Philippine Coast Guard said JCGS Tsugaru will hold joint exercises with Philippine counterparts in mid-November. Unlike in previous drills, there will be no port call due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tokyo has given significant assistance to the PCG over the past years by providing equipment, training for maritime safety and security, among others.
The PCG is expected to receive two brand new multi-role response vessels from Japan by 2022. These 94-meter ships modeled after the JCG Kunigami-class ships— the biggest vessels of the PCG fleet— are expected to boost Philippine patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
The deal is the second phase of the Japanese-assisted PCG Maritime Capability Improvement Project, partly funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for P6.7 billion. The first phase involved the acquisition of 10 units of 44-meter multi-role response vessels, which was completed in 2018.
Japan has been increasing its security cooperation with the Philippines in the face of China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. Tokyo is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Beijing in the East China Sea.
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