News Brief

First In Asia, Japan Signs Defence Agreement With Philippines For Reciprocal Access Amid Growing Chinese Assertiveness

Nishtha Anushree

Jul 08, 2024, 01:47 PM | Updated 01:47 PM IST

Japan-Philippines Defence Agreement
Japan-Philippines Defence Agreement

Amid the increasing assertiveness of China, the Philippines on Monday (8 July) signed a defence pact with Japan to allow the deployment of Japanese forces for joint military exercises, including live-fire drills.

The agreement grants reciprocal access, which means that Filipino forces are also allowed to enter Japan for joint combat training. It would take effect after ratification by the countries’ legislatures.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr in Manila. Philippine Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa were the signatories.

Kamikawa called the agreement 'a groundbreaking achievement' with a hope that defence cooperation between Japan and the Philippines will be boosted further with this, The Hindu reported.

"A free and open international order based on the rule of law is the foundation of regional peace and prosperity. We would like to work closely with your country to maintain and strengthen this," she said.

Notably, the Philippines was under brutal Japanese occupation in World War II. However, it has now become the first signatory of Japan's defence pact in Asia after Australia and Britain.

Under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Japan is moving away from its self-defence only policy due to threats from North Korea and China. It is doubling its defence spending in a five-year period to 2027.

Tokyo wants to defend Manila’s territorial interests in the South China Sea, which has been witnessing Chinese breaches for past many years.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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