July 1, 2019 – Three ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)’s Escort Flotilla One have docked off the East Rivera Wharf in SBMA, Olongapo City on Sunday for a goodwill visit until Wednesday.
Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Captain Jonathan Zata said this is the third visit of JMSDF ships in the country this year.
The first one was JS Ikazuchi (DD-107) in Manila last January and JS Samidare (DD-106) in Subic Bay last May.
The visiting JMSDF Escort Flotilla One is composed of the “helicopter destroyer” and flagship, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and two destroyers, JS Murasame (DD-101) and JS Akebono (DD-108).
Zata said the 850-member Japanese delegation is led by Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa, Escort Flotilla One commander. Aside from the three ships, the force is also equipped with five SH-60K patrol helicopters.
Meanwhile, the PN delegation, which welcomed the JSMDF contingent, is headed by Commodore Adeluis Bordado, Naval Installation Command chief.
“This visit underscores the continuing efforts of the Philippines and Japan to strengthen the relationship between our governments and navies. This further trumpets the Philippine Navy’s commitment to promoting naval diplomacy and camaraderie and fostering goodwill with our Japanese Navy counterparts,” he added.
As this develops, Egawa expressed his sincere gratitude to the PN for the welcome and support are given to them during their visit. He said that Japan and the Philippines are important partners which have made efforts together to maintain and strengthen maritime order in the region.
The Japanese naval official also cited the defense cooperation and exchanges between the JMSDF and the PN that have steadily been developing throughout the years. “The JMSDF will continue to strengthen the cooperation with the Philippine Navy as a very important partner in achieving Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region,” he further added.
Last Friday, BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) held a maritime activity with these JMSDF vessels in the Sulu Sea. The activity served as a prime opportunity for the two navies to enhance interoperability and strengthen relationship and partnership among like-minded navies.
Last May 5, JS Izumo and JS Murasame together with the PN patrol ship, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) conducted group sail together with ships from US and India while transiting international waters in the West Philippine Sea.