No mention of Japan VFA, but Kishida seeks strengthened cooperation with PH, US | Global News

No mention of Japan VFA, but Kishida seeks strengthened cooperation with PH, US

/ 08:16 PM February 09, 2023

TOKYO, Japan — There was no mention of the visiting forces agreement (VFA) counterpart between Japan and the Philippines, but Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said on Thursday they are looking toward a strengthened security cooperation between the two countries plus the United States (US).

Kishida, during a briefing at the Prime Minister’s Office, said he explained to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. what Japan’s national security strategy is, which Marcos welcomed.


Marcos was at the office of the Prime Minister as part of his official visit to Japan, which runs from February 8 to 12.


“With regards to our security cooperation, I explained to the President such matters as Japan’s national security strategy and the President welcomed Japan’s commitment to the free and open international order based on rules,” Kishida said.

“We will also look into ways to promote our defense equipment and technology cooperation and to strengthen cooperation amongst Japan, the United States, and the Philippines,” he added.

Japan’s political leader said that a further, in-depth exchange of views on the regional situation would happen between him and Marcos during the working dinner tonight.

“During our working dinner after this, recognizing the severe and complex international situations, we plan to have an in-depth exchange of views on regional and international situations including our collaboration towards realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kishida noted.

Marcos in response said that he and Kishida agreed to cooperate “more closely” in security and defense considerations.

“Finally, the Prime Minister and I have agreed to cooperate even more closely in areas of economic cooperation, security and defense cooperation, maritime security and safety, healthcare mechanisms, environmental commitments, and people-to-people exchanges,” he said.


“Furthermore, there are cultural cooperation, regional peace initiatives, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, amongst others,” he added.

It could be remembered that on his way to Japan, Marcos was asked by Philippine reporters if the VFA with Japan — similar to the one that the Philippines has with the US — is on the table for discussion.

Marcos said back then that while he is open to the idea, Marcos clarified that no formal talks have been initiated on this topic.

READ: Marcos: Potential talks with Japan about maritime defense may improve ties 

The VFA with Japan is an old proposal, dating back to before the term of Marcos’ predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte.  Talks have bogged down, however, as both countries focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, which struck the world in 2020.

Last November, several senators led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said that a VFA would be beneficial to the Philippines since Japan is also a close ally of the United States.

The United States, under the Mutual Defense Treaty, is expected to come to the Philippines’ aid if the latter suffers an unprovoked attack.


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TAGS: Japan, Philippines, VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement

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