JAPAN has expressed readiness to contribute to cooperation among the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia in addressing piracy and terrorism, the Department of National Defense (DND) disclosed on Tuesday.
According to the DND, Japanese Vice Minister for International Affairs Ro Manabe made the assurance during the Philippines-Japan ministerial meeting on February 10 in Tokyo.
Undersecretary for Defense Policy Ricardo David Jr. and Manabe headed their respective delegations during the meeting that was convened for the fifth time.
Joining them were Defense Assistant Secretary for Assessments and International Affairs Raymund Quilop and Philippine Navy commander Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado.
Manabe also assured the Philippines of Japan’s support for Manila’s Chairmanship of Asean this year even as he reiterated Tokyo’s intention to promote defense cooperation with Asean member-states.
Japan is ready to pursue deeper defense cooperation with the Philippines through exchanges and defense equipment transfer, according to the vice minister.
Manabe has requested the Philippines to convey how Japan could best assist in curbing piracy and kidnapping in the three countries’ shared maritime areas.
David acknowledged Japan’s contribution to the capability upgrade of Philippine defense forces specifically the lease of 5 TC-90 aircraft for maritime surveillance, the first two to be delivered in late March.
Japan also provides capacity-building assistance particularly on humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
David cited the need for the two countries to conclude a visiting forces pact as Japan has expressed interested to hold exercises with the Philippines.
Prior to the meeting, the Japanese side had briefed the Philippine delegation on the latest developments in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea], which Japan has monitored, assuring Manila that Tokyo will continue to share with the Philippines timely information specifically violations of the rule of law, in reference to the decision on a sea row between China and the Philippines issued by Permanent Court of Arbitration in July last year.