Japan and the Philippines discussed on military technology deals on a sideline meeting of Philippine President Aquino and Japan Prime Minister Abe during the APEC regional summit.
Both countries signed an agreement for Japan to supply military equipment to the Philippines, which is Tokyo’s effort of providing support in dealing with the South China Sea squabbles with China.
Japan and the Philippines defense deal are but a strengthening of the two countries military strategic partnership, which was signed in 2011. This long relation started way back then, amidst the growing concerns in the East and South China Seas. Very recently, in January this year as reported in The Diplomat , the two countries further strengthened ties upon the signing of the Memo of Understanding on defense cooperation in equipment and technology, including capacity building.
In this new defense collaboration, both sides will agree on the possible areas that Japan can provide to the Philippines. However, according to reliable sources, Japan’s assistance can include the provision of three Beechcraft TC-90 King Air Planes fitted with basic air surveillance radar and a Lockheed Martin submarine-hunting P3-C patrol planes. The TC-90 is being used by Japan in training its Self Defense Force pilots.
These military equipment will augment the Japanese earlier commitment in 2013 to supply the Philippines with ten patrol boats, which will be carried out in 2016. In the area of capacity building, the two countries have opened up possibilities to engage in the visiting forces agreement, similar to that of the U.S. and Australia agreements, allowing Japan access to Philippine military facilities and resources.
Economic cooperation among APEC member countries was the major agenda of the economic summit in Manila, but defense and security concerns also took center stage in the sideline meetings. Naval security, particularly in the South China Sea was an issue that Japan and other highly advanced countries had brought to the table discussions with the Philippines.