JMSDF Escort Flotilla Four arrives in Subic Bay
The Escort Flotilla Four of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) arrived in Subic Bay on Saturday morning.
Commander Jonathan Zata, Philippine Navy spokesman, said this is comprised of helicopter carrier Japanese Ship Kaga (DDH-184) with five embarked SH-60K patrol helicopters, an Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117), and a Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105) arrived at Alava Wharf for a goodwill visit to the Philippines that will last until Wednesday.
In the afternoon, President Rodrigo Duterte visited the Japanese ships, news reports said.
Zata said the Japanese delegations were welcomed by Commodor Antonio Palces, commander of Sealift Amphibious Force.
“Both navies share strategic partnership and common interest of a peaceful and stable region and rules-based approach to international engagements and resolution to conflict..., and that ...the Philippine Navy gladly welcomes the JMSDF and the opportunity to further prove these shared commitments”, Palces said.
Zata said the Japanese delegates were composed of about 850 officers and crew headlined by flotilla commander, Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda, and commanding officers, Capt. Hideki Mizuta (DDH-184), Commander Yuki Ochimizu (DD-105), and Commander. Takeo Kinuyama (DD-117).
He said Fukuda explained that the flotilla’s deployment, “...is intended to improve operational capability and promote interoperability and cooperation with partner navies, while contributing to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”.
This will be followed by series of confidence building activities between the visiting navy and their Filipino counterparts on the following days which include courtesy call, shipboard tour, lectures, reciprocal receptions and sports events, said Zata.
“It is a demonstration of fostering commitment and cooperation between the two nations which contributes to regional peace and stability,” he added.
It is the fifth time that JMSDF vessels visited the country this year. The latest visit was by the JS Setogiri last May 25. The first visit was made by JS Amagiri last February, then JS Akizuki on April 13 followed by JS Osumi. Robina Asido/DMS