Japan military chief in PH for Pacific Partnership 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The chief of Japan's military is in the Philippines for the annual Pacific Partnership 2015, the largest multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of staff, joint staff, Japan Self-Defense Forces was at the Philippine military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, August 12, to pay a courtesy call on Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Hernando Iriberri.

Pacific Patnership aims to strengthen international relationships among Asia-Pacific countries. It's a several months-long activity that was launched in May and will end in September. 

Largest humanitarian assistance exercises

Medical care missions, veterinary services and critical infrastructure developments were provided in several Philippine municipalities.

"Among the highlights of PP15 is the medical mission being conducted by personnel from various countries onboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) which arrived in the Philippines last July 18," according to a statement from the Philippine military. (READ: USNS Mercy welcomed by local officials in Subic Bay)

Pacific Partnership also includes training on advance Disaster Risk Reduction Trainings, multilateral leadership forum on gender and development, exchanges on biomedical repair, and forums on disaster risk reduction forum intended to enhance international response to natural disasters.

Stronger ties 

Defense ties between the former World War II enemies have grown since tension in the region escalated due to disputes in maritime territories. The two countries are protesting the continued aggressiveness of China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea.

Manila also recently announced that it is in the process of crafting a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Japan to allow Japanese troops and assets access to Philippine military bases.

Drills between the Philippine Navy and the Japan Maritime Defense Forces were conducted despite the absence of a VFA, prompting a case before the Supreme Court over the alleged unconstitutionality of the exercises. – Rappler.com