Japan, Philippines hold joint air drills

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force and the Philippine Air Force have held joint drills, aiming to enhance cooperation not only in the field of security but also in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

About 70 personnel from the two countries took part in the exercises at Clark Air Base on Luzon Island.

The drills were held on the assumption that personnel from both countries will work together in the event of emergencies, such as typhoons and volcanic eruptions in the Philippines.

A drill to unload cargo from a transport aircraft with a forklift was shown to the media. Officials said they also conducted an exercise to parachute relief goods from an aircraft for the first time.
A commander of the Philippine Air Force stressed the significance of the joint drills, saying they are extending their activities for "stronger coverage" for economic and defense purposes.

He went on to say that the partnership is "progressing" and is "getting stronger."

ASDF Chief of Staff Izutsu Shunji made it clear that the two countries will regularly hold joint exercises in the future.

Izutsu said the exercises will be the basis for working together in Japan and the Philippines and elsewhere in the world.

The foreign and defense ministers of the two countries held their first "two-plus-two" meeting in April to step up their security cooperation.