THE JS Akizuki, an Akizuki-class Destroyer from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) arrived in Subic on Friday for a three-day goodwill visit until Monday, April 16, the Philippine Navy said.
“The visit aims to strengthen the relationship between the two navies.. it wil further enhance and sustain the promotion of peace, stability, and maritime cooperation of the two countries through naval diplomacy and camaraderie,” the Navy said in a statement.
It added: “This is the second visit of a JMSDF ship in the country this year,” the first being the JS Amagiri who arrived last February in Manila.
“…The Japanese Navy will engage in a series of confidence building activities with their PN (Philippine Navy) counterparts such as goodwill games followed by a boodle fight,” the statement read further.
The arrival of the Akizuki came at a time when the United States has intensified its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy with Japan, India, and Australia to counteract China’s growing influence in the Pacific region, where various nations including the Philippines have contested claims on territory.
Japan, for its part, has also started to increase its military efforts in response to its neighbor’s aggressive movements, with the island nation recently activating an amphibious force — its first marines force since World War II. — Dane Angelo Enerio