Japan commits to reinforcing Philippines’ maritime defense power
MANILA, Philippines — Japan Prime Minister Kishida Fumio tells Filipinos that Japan is committed to boost Philippines’ maritime security capabilities.
He cited the Japanese assistance granted to Philippines over the years, like the delivery of 12 ships to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
During the joint special session held by Philippine Congress to hear the address of Japan’s head of state, Kishida talked about the aid, saying it is part of Japan’s commitment to a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP).
“The last pillar of the New FOIP Plan is ‘extending efforts for security and safe use of the sea to the air,’” the visiting head of state told Filipino lawmakers.
“Japan has, hitherto, provided 12 ships to the Coast Guard to play a part in improving the Philippines’ maritime security capability,” he said.
“Furthermore, a Japanese firm delivered a warning and control radar to the Philippine Air Force last month in order to improve Air Domain Awareness,” Kishida mentioned.
“Also yesterday, Japan agreed with the Philippines to provide coastal surveillance radars to the Philippine Navy as the first cooperation project in the world under Japan’s newly established Official Security Assistance (OSA) this year,” the Japanese leader said.
“Japan will continue to contribute to the enhancement of the Philippines’ security capabilities, thereby contributing to regional peace and stability,” he stressed.
Kishida was in Manila for a two-day visit.
Previously, it was reported that he would board a PCG vessel made by Japan.
As of now, PCG has 13 Japanese-made ships, including ten multi-role response vessels (MRRV), two offshore patrol vessels, and a buoy tender vessel.
Among the ten MRRVs made by Japan is BRP Teresa Magbanua, which is currently the biggest PCG vessel.
In 2012, Japan committed to send 12 boats that could be used to establish a minimum credible defense posture amid the territorial disputes and threats in West Philippine Sea.
In February, during President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s official working visit to Japan, Kishida said he was seeking strengthened cooperation between Japan, Philippines, and United States (US).
Aside from the defense assistance, Kishida also mentioned the agreement between him and Marcos to push through with formal talks on the reciprocal access agreement (RAA).
This accord is meant to deepen strategic cooperation between Japan and Philippines.
House of Representatives and Senate held a special joint session at Batasan Complex in Quezon city on November 4 (Saturday) to listen to Kishida’s address.
A special session was necessary as both chambers of Congress are on a break, with the regular session adjourned on September 30.
The weekend session was presided over by Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
The second regular session of 19th Congress will resume on Monday, November 6.