PH and Japan Hold Vice-Ministerial Meeting

First held in late 2013, with an immediate followup dialogue in early 2014, defense vice-ministers from the Philippines and Japan had their 3rd dialogue last March 19. Undersecretary of National Defense Honorio S. Azcueta welcomed Hideshi Tokuchi, Japan’s vice-minister for International Affairs at the Department of National Defense for their bilateral dialogue where the two vice-ministers exchanged views on security challenges common to the Philippines and Japan to include maritime security, natural disasters, and terrorism. They likewise took stock of the progress of PH-Japan defense cooperation specifically in the areas of education and training, reciprocal officer and personnel exchanges, and capacity building. 

With a Memorandum on Defense Cooperation having been signed early this year between Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, the defense vice-ministers likewise explored the way forward and future prospects of PH-Japan defense cooperation, with defense equipment cooperation as well as PH-Japan cooperative engagement in international bodies like the ADMM-Plus being two key areas of discussion. 

Prior to the vice-ministerial dialogue, Vice-Minister Tokuchi paid a courtesy call on Secretary Gazmin where he conveyed Japan’s readiness to work with the Philippines in addressing common security concerns as well as solicited Philippine support for Japan’s proposal to have another informal meeting with ASEAN’s defense ministers following such meeting at the sidelines of the ADMM Retreat in Bagan, Myanmar in 2014. 

Vice-minister Tokuchi was in the Philippines for a three day official engagement where he also spoke in a symposium at the National Defense College of the Philippines and had interactions with the Philippine Air Force when he visited the PAF’s Air Division stationed in Clark.