As part of stepped-up cooperation between the Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) and the Philippine military, the latter will receive disaster-relief tools including jackhammers, sonars, and engine cutters among others worth ¥120 million ($1.1 million).
After the delivery is completed, Ground SDF personnel will be sent to train units of the Philippine forces in their use, the Japanese MoD said.
The aid will be the first time that Tokyo has offered SDF equipment to a foreign armed force using its official development assistance (ODA).
Last year, Japan agreed to provide Mitsubishi-made air radar systems to Manila.
The Philippines Coast Guard has commissioned into service a total of 10 Japanese-made 44-meter-long patrol vessels through Japan’s foreign aid loan between 2016 and 2018. Two more such ships measuring 94 meters in length will be deployed next year.
Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times called the flight of Philippine warplanes over Chinese fishing boats “taking shelter from the weather” near a reef in the South China Sea as inappropriate. The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement on March 22 that the reef is a part of China's Nansha Islands and Chinese fishing vessels have been fishing in its adjacent waters for many years.
The embassy blamed “some external countries” for stoking tensions in the region. “Within our region tensions are rising because some external countries are bent on playing fusty geopolitical games,” the embassy said on Twitter.
The remarks were aimed at Japan after its ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko, stressed the need for peace and stability in the South China Sea.