PHL, Japan to hold first full-fledged military exercise in West PHL Sea

The Philippine Navy and its Japanese counterpart Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will be conducting a first ‘full-pledged’ joint naval drill in West Philippine Sea later this month, Japanese broadcaster NHK reports Monday.

“Sources close to the Japanese Defense Ministry say the 2 forces will carry out the disaster relief exercises in open seas, but the drill will not include surveillance activities,” NHK wrote.

The report added that Japan will send a P-3C anti-submarine, maritime surveillance aircraft while the Philippine Navy will use a vessel and aircraft for the said drill to be conducted June 23 to 24.

This is seen to be the first full-pledge and formal military exercise between Japanese and Filipino navies after a drill, dedicated to test Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) between two navies, was held May 12. The drill last May was in time BRP Alcaraz was going out for her deployment while two Japanese destroyers were on their way back to Japan.

The said exercise later this month will be held several days after President Aquino’s state visit to Japan. During the visit Philippines and Japan have entered into a Strengthened Strategic Partnership initiating “the expansion of bilateral and multilateral trainings and exercises for capacity building in areas including those covered by the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges between the Department of National Defense and Ministry of Defense.”