Japan, Philippines sign bilateral security cooperation pact

Japan and the Philippines have signed an accord to facilitate joint drills between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the Philippine military, amid China's growing maritime assertiveness.

Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro signed the Reciprocal Access Agreement in Manila on Monday, with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in attendance.

The accord covers matters including the handling of weapons and ammunition during joint training, and the right to exercise jurisdiction in the event of incidents or accidents.

The pact will also be applied to disaster relief activities.

The Philippines is the third country with which Japan has signed such a pact, following Australia and Britain. Japan also has the Status of Forces Agreement with the United States.

Tokyo and Manila hope to boost bilateral security cooperation, as they both face China's increased maritime activities in the East and South China Seas, respectively.