Japan willing to help in AFP capability upgrade program

Japan Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Tsuyohito Iwamoto (left) and DND officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (right) (Photo courtesy of DND)

Japan has reiterated its willingness and commitment to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its ongoing capability upgrade program.

Japan Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Tsuyohito Iwamoto gave the assurance during his courtesy call on Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. on Monday.

The two officials discussed overall Philippines-Japan defense relations and regional security concerns. During their meeting, Faustino recalled the successful conduct of the Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (2+2) between the Philippines and Japan last April.

DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said “both officials reaffirmed the outcomes of the 2+2 meeting, such as the further development of humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) cooperation and collaboration on transfer of defense equipment.” Japan, he added, also expressed “willingness to contribute and assist the AFP in its capability-upgrade program.”

The two officials, Andolong added, also reaffirmed that respect for international law and rules-based order are essential in maintaining peace and stability in the region, particularly in the South China Sea (SCS) and East China Sea (ECS).

Iwamoto noted that the meeting is a manifestation of the two countries’ growing bilateral strategic partnership. He was in Manila last July 17 to 18 and his itinerary includes courtesy calls on key Philippine defense and military officials.

“As to multilateral cooperation, both sides look forward to dialogue among the Philippines, Japan, and other partners, as well as a continuous collaboration under the auspices of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus,” Andolong said.