Japan and the Philippines have signed a defence pact to deepen military cooperation. The arrangement will see Japanese soldiers join natural and humanitarian disaster response training exercises in the Philippines. It has been seen as a first step towards broader defensive cooperation.
Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida signed the agreement in Tokyo on February 9. The visit of the Philippines President to Tokyo came shortly after the Philippines agreed to expand US access to its military bases, following a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Fumio Kishida said the agreement with the Philippines would be followed by further talks that would strengthen defensive ties and enable the transfer of equipment and technology to the Philippines, including air surveillance radar systems. The trilateral cooperation with the US would also be strengthened, he added.
In December 2022, the Japanese government amended its defensive doctrine, breaking with its defense-only principles since the end of World War II. While adopting a retaliatory strike capability, it said that it plans to double military spending in five years. The country also aims to support poorer nations in the region with development assistance focused on maritime security.