Philippines, Japan Ink Defense Pact

MANILA – The Philippines and Japan signed the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) on Monday, allowing the deployment of troops in each other’s countries and strengthening security and defense cooperation.

Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa inked the documents in the presence of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacañang Palace.

“I’m glad that having witnessed the commencement, the [beginning] of this agreement that it has now come to fruition and that we are ready now to sign the Reciprocal Agreement,” Marcos Jr. said ahead of the signing ceremony.

“And your presence here increases our confidence and the importance that the Japanese government puts on these extremely important agreements that we have. And I’m very glad that we have come to this day,” he added.

Kamikawa, for her part, described the signing of the RAA as a “great achievement” for the two nations.

“To maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law, we would like to strengthen our partnership under your excellency’s leadership,” she told the Filipino leader.

Kamikawa and Defense Minister Kihara Minoru are in the Philippines for the 2nd Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (2+2), the highest consultative mechanism to enhance security and defense policy coordination and cooperation between the two countries.

The Philippines-Japan RAA stemmed from a commitment made during the inaugural 2+2 meeting in April 2022.

The first formal negotiations on the RAA took place on Nov. 29-30 last year in Tokyo.

A virtual line-by-line reading of the RAA main text, Agreed Minutes, and two records of discussions was conducted on June 11.

The landmark defense pact will take effect after ratification by the legislatures of both countries. It marks Japan’s first such agreement in Asia. - Florenda Corpuz

(Photo courtesy of Presidential Communications Office)