Japan, Philippines to strengthen defense ties

2024 June 18

DEFENSE TIES. House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez and Japanese Speaker Fukushiro Nukaga commit to enhancing the defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Japan during a meeting at the Tokyo parliamentary building on Tuesday (June 18, 2024). Romualdez said the defense capabilities and overall security of the Philippines have significantly improved due to the country’s closer ties with Japan. (Photo courtesy of the Speaker’s office)

MANILA – House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez and Japanese Speaker Fukushiro Nukaga have committed to enhancing the defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, as well as to expand trilateral cooperation with the United States.

In a statement on Tuesday, Romualdez said the defense capabilities and overall security of the Philippines have significantly improved due to the country’s closer ties with Japan during his meeting with Nukaga in Tokyo.

“Our relationship is at an all-time high with the recent signing not just of the trilateral agreement, but of our relationship, of our strategic partnership,” Romualdez told Nukaga.

Romualdez said a key highlight of this cooperation is the Official Security Assistance (OSA) from Japan amounting to JPY600 million, or roughly PHP235.5 million.

The OSA was signed on Nov. 3, 2023 during Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the Philippines.

This assistance includes new Coastal Radar Systems, which are expected to significantly enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines by providing advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance functionalities.

“Japan has provided not only radar systems for our Coast Guard but also choppers and ships to expand our maritime assets for the Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy due to the archipelagic nature of our country and many, many miles of shoreline,” Romualdez said.

Nukaga, for his part, acknowledged the close relations and cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, saying he is “very glad” that the two countries have “very good bilateral relations.”

He said Japan and the Philippines share the same values, stressing the importance of collaborating on numerous areas, such as defense and security.

Nukaga said the “rule of law” should be the basis of security and protecting and upholding democracy, as well as securing the international order.

Romualdez and Nukaga also discussed in their meeting the trilateral cooperation between the Philippines, Japan and the US, citing its crucial role in maintaining regional security and stability.

This comes in the wake of the successful inaugural Trilateral Summit held in April 2024 in Washington, D.C., which laid the groundwork for deepening collaboration among the three nations.

These included enhanced cooperation in economic resilience and security, inclusive growth and development, climate change and maritime cooperation.

Romualdez said the Philippines recognizes that trilateral cooperation plays a pivotal role in maintaining regional security and stability, particularly in ensuring a rules-based order in the region.

Nukaga, meanwhile, deemed the trilateral agreement as “very important to promote cooperation among the three countries” for the security, safety and stability of the region. 

 Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)