The Philippine government is seeking to broaden its current relations with Japan from trade and development issues to include defense and maritime security. Meeting with Komeito Party Chief Yamaguchi Natsuo in Malacañang on Wednesday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the Philippines now sees the need for a broader relationship. “In the past, it could be said that the largest part of our interaction between our two countries were always in terms of trade, in terms of development, in terms of ODA (Official Development Assistance). But I suppose that now times have changed and those agreements have gone beyond just trade, just business, just investment. And we now have to concern ourselves with issues of security and defense in our region,” Marcos said. Marcos said Japan’s help to the Philippines in terms of security and defense in an effort to preserve peace in Southeast Asia and with neighboring countries. “We must acknowledge the very important contributions that Japan has made to the Philippines in terms of not only training, not only in terms of equipment, but also in the agreements that we have been able to forge between our two countries in terms of cooperation, in terms of preserving the peace and allowing the free conduct of trade and shipping the South China Sea,” Marcos said. Marcos expressed concern over North Korea’s “actuations,” taking a series of missile launches and weapons tests in recent months that has put Japan on heightened alert. “We consider it a critical issue that, really, we in the region must work together very, very hard to try to alleviate the tensions, to try to make all the proponents of peace in the region be the dominant voice,” Marcos said. On the matter of partnerships in investment and development, Marcos said, had highlighted the shared democratic principles that underpin their political structures. Meanwhile, Natsuo said that Japan’s Komeito Party is open to more cooperation with the Philippines, not only in its traditional partnerships but also in defense and maritime security cooperation. “So Japan actively supports Philippines into entering the upper-middle income countries, public and private sectors, and also we would like to see many [cooperations] not only in defense [cooperation], but also maritime security [cooperation], also agriculture areas,” Natsuo said. Natsuo said that since Japan’s relaxation of restrictions on foreign defense equipment and technology transfers in 2014, the Philippines had benefited from various acquisitions and procurements of defense assets under a Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology Agreement signed on February 2016. Natsuo said that some of the transfers made include UH-1H helicopter spare parts and maintenance equipment in 2019; HADR equipment in 2021, Air Surveillance Radar System; continued TC-90 maintenance support and sustainment program, and sale of TC-90 ground support, spare parts, and maintenance equipment. Natsuo said that Japan also helped the Philippines to strengthen its capacity in maritime surveillance, particularly through the provision of radar systems for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The PCG is also set to receive a state-of-the-art satellite communication system from Japan that would help improve its capacity to monitor and obtain a better picture of the Philippines’ vast maritime jurisdiction, particularly in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government is seeking to broaden its current relations with Japan from trade and development issues to include defense and maritime security.

Meeting with Komeito Party Chief Yamaguchi Natsuo in Malacañang on Wednesday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the Philippines now sees the need for a broader relationship.

“In the past, it could be said that the largest part of our interaction between our two countries were always in terms of trade, in terms of development, in terms of ODA (Official Development Assistance). But I suppose that now times have changed and those agreements have gone beyond just trade, just business, just investment. And we now have to concern ourselves with issues of security and defense in our region,” Marcos said.

Marcos said Japan’s help to the Philippines in terms of security and defense in an effort to preserve peace in Southeast Asia and with neighboring countries.

“We must acknowledge the very important contributions that Japan has made to the Philippines in terms of not only training, not only in terms of equipment, but also in the agreements that we have been able to forge between our two countries in terms of cooperation, in terms of preserving the peace and allowing the free conduct of trade and shipping the South China Sea,” Marcos said.

Marcos expressed concern over North Korea’s “actuations,” taking a series of missile launches and weapons tests in recent months that has put Japan on heightened alert.

“We consider it a critical issue that, really, we in the region must work together very, very hard to try to alleviate the tensions, to try to make all the proponents of peace in the region be the dominant voice,” Marcos said.

On the matter of partnerships in investment and development, Marcos said, had highlighted the shared democratic principles that underpin their political structures.

Meanwhile, Natsuo said that Japan’s Komeito Party is open to more cooperation with the Philippines, not only in its traditional partnerships but also in defense and maritime security cooperation.

“So Japan actively supports Philippines into entering the upper-middle income countries, public and private sectors, and also we would like to see many [cooperations] not only in defense [cooperation], but also maritime security [cooperation], also agriculture areas,” Natsuo said.

Natsuo said that since Japan’s relaxation of restrictions on foreign defense equipment and technology transfers in 2014, the Philippines had benefited from various acquisitions and procurements of defense assets under a Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology Agreement signed on February 2016.

Natsuo said that some of the transfers made include UH-1H helicopter spare parts and maintenance equipment in 2019; HADR equipment in 2021, Air Surveillance Radar System; continued TC-90 maintenance support and sustainment program, and sale of TC-90 ground support, spare parts, and maintenance equipment.

Natsuo said that Japan also helped the Philippines to strengthen its capacity in maritime surveillance, particularly through the provision of radar systems for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The PCG is also set to receive a state-of-the-art satellite communication system from Japan that would help improve its capacity to monitor and obtain a better picture of the Philippines’ vast maritime jurisdiction, particularly in the West Philippine Sea.