Japan, Philippines agree to step up security cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have agreed Tokyo will provide Manila with surveillance radars under a new security assistance program.

The two leaders met in Philippine capital on Friday.

The deal comes under Japan's Official Security Assistance framework, or OSA. It will be the first time Japan has applied the framework. It was launched in April to provide supplies, including defense equipment, to like-minded countries to enhance security cooperation. It comes with China's increasing maritime activities in mind.

The leaders also confirmed their countries will start negotiations to conclude a Reciprocal Access Agreement. It is designed to arrange necessary details for Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the Philippine military to conduct activities, including joint drills.

Kishida said, "Through concrete cooperation with the Philippines, we want to secure a world where human dignity is protected by maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law."

Marcos said, "This OSA will further enhance the military capacities of our countries, including the Philippines, which shares common security concerns with Japan."

Kishida also asked Marcos for help to stage a successful special summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next month in Tokyo.

Following his stop in the Philippines, the prime minister will next head to Malaysia.