By Aaron Recuenco
At least three warships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have arrived in the country for a few days of goodwill visit.
Commander Jonathan Zata, director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said the Japanese ships, now berthed at the Alava Wharf in Olongapo City, arrived today and are expected to stay in the country until Wednesday.
Zata said the visiting Escort Flotilla Four of the JMSDF is composed of helicopter carrier Japanese Ship (JS) Kaga (DDH-184) with five embarked SH-60K patrol helicopters, an Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117), and a Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105).
“They have about 850 officers and crew headed by flotilla commander, Rear Adm. Tatsuya Fukuda,” said Zata.
The Japanese delegation was welcomed by their counterparts in the Philippine Navy headed by Commodore Antonio Palces, the commander of the Sealift Amphibious Force, during a ceremony today.
“Both navies share strategic partnership and common interest of a peaceful and stable region and rules-based approach to international engagements and resolution to conflict,” said Palces in his speech.
“This (flotilla visit) is intended to improve operational capability and promote interoperability and cooperation with partner navies, while contributing to peace and stability in the indo-Pacific region,” said Rear Admiral Fukuda for his part.
The JMSDF is also considered as the Japanese Navy. It was formed after Japan was prevented from further expanding its military forces after the World War 2.
It was through the JMSDF where the Philippine Navy received a five TC-90 aircraft which are now being refurbished and planned to be used for maritime patrol especially in the West Philippine Sea side.
Zata said there will be a series of activities that will be held by the JMSDF personnel and Philippine Navy personnel, which include shipboard tour, lectures, reciprocal receptions and sports events.