Japan and U.S. on Joint Patrols in South China Sea

November 28, 2015
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Japan and Philippines military drill to patrol South China Sea
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Japan, although not a claimant to the disputed islands and waters in the South China Sea, is ready to join the U.S. navy to enter into patrol activities anytime soon, Mainichi Shimbun reported.

In his statement on Tuesday, Vice Admiral Yasuhiro Shigeoka, the commander of the Japanese Self Defense Fleet, Japan is prepared to send a warship to the highly contested area. Japan is geared up to take part in monitoring of China’s occupation of islands, reefs and shoals, particularly its “well known and questionable” island – building activities.

Contrary to this pronouncement, the U.S. denied that both countries planned for joint patrols in the South China Sea, the same day the Japanese statement came out publicly after their joint training exercise.

“USA Today” reported that Japan and U.S. navies, consisting of 25 Japanese with 7 U.S. warships had participated in a joint training exercise at sea for 10 days. Joint exercises according of Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, the Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet are preparedness drills. At the same time, these strengthens cooperation between Japan and the U.S. as ships are “spread out over the ocean” of which the U.S. is looking forward to benefit Japan and the U.S. including the Western Pacific.

Although, Aucoin did not reveal any plans for joint patrols in the South China Sea immediately, the Japanese press reported that a joint mission could possibly happen in the future.

At the APEC meeting in Manila, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed with U.S. President Obama the issues surrounding the South China Sea disputes. Abe pronounced that Japan will assess China’s activities and its implications on Japan’s security as he pledged support for “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea, which is the U.S. strong argument of its presence in the area.

In September this year, Tokyo passed a “controversial security bill” that is to allow its military to take part in joint overseas missions to help its close ally in the event of an attack. On Tuesday, Opposition party and the Democratic Party lawmakers submitted a request to repeal Japan’s security law.

Whatever will be the results of the security bill revision request, Japan is prepared and is ready anytime for joint patrols in the South China Sea.

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