The Japanese government is providing more sophisticated equipment to its neighbors, especially the Philippines. Country leaders Duterte and Abe finalized the deal of ten patrol vessels ordered by the Philippines to augment its weak coast guard.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, who met with Japan’s Abe last month on the sidelines of Asean Summit, signed a deal with Japanese shipbuilder to buy a fleet of 10 high speed patrol vessels.
Japan will provide low-interest loan worth 19 billion yen ($150 million / 6.7 billion PHP) to pay for the ships. The deal makes a significant shift in Japan’s foreign program focused until now on infrastructure projects.
The purchase of 44-meter high-speed/high-endurance boats from Japan Maritime United will sharply enhance the capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard to patrol the disputed waters in Western Philippine Sea and inland coastline.
According to the report, the delivery of patrol vessels will start as early as the first quarter of 2018 until late 2019. The boats will armed with Mk44 Bushmaster II chain guns and other variants of machine guns.
Sources said the custom-made boats will be fitted with thick hulls intended for ramming any possible threats.
During Duterte’s visit to japan several months ago, he also met with hundreds of Japanese investors who will likely bring their businesses to the Philippines.
Aside from the 10 patrol vessels, Japan and the Philippines also agreed to transfer some of Japan’s defense and military equipment, the report said.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez says the 10 patrol boats, to be turned over to the Philippines through the ODA facility, will be used to monitor the country’s coastlines as well as for disaster response and relief operations.
Top AFP official who visit Japan along with 60 others said the Philippines will have a complete air, land, and sea defense systems by 2020 citing delivery of fighter planes from South Korea and US.
The country can have a full power by 2020 adding the planned missile defense system from Israel, and submarines and additional ships from Japan, the officer who refused to identify said.
/Kitai Agami/ Assisted Press Tokyo