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The Philippines and Japan sign defense pact agreement

Japanese Foreign Minister (Left) and the Philippines Defense Secretary (Right) are both sitting on wooden chairs as they sign a troop defense access pact in Manila.
Philippine News Agency (@pnagovph)
Japanese Foreign Minister, Kamikawa Yoko (L), and the Philippines' Defense Secretary, Gilbert Teodoro Jr., signed RAA treaty documents in the presence of Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday afternoon, in Manila's Malacañang Palace.

The Philippines and Japan signed the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) on Monday in Manila's Malacañang Palace.

RAA fosters greater defense cooperation by allowing Japanese Forces to train with the Philippine military and ease access between the two countries for troops.  

The pact upgrades bilateral relations between Manila and Tokyo, and is "seen to provide a broader alliance against China, which in recent months has been increasingly assertive in its ambitious claims in the West Philippine Sea," said the Philippine Government.

This development comes as China continues to ramp up tensions in the South China Sea.

According to Nikkei Asia, Philippine Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner said the RAA will allow the Philippines to conduct more than just humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, but "actual military operations."

The Philippines government said the treaty will have to be ratified by the respective legislative bodies of both countries before it goes into force.

Once it does, the RAA with Manila will be Japan's third defense cooperation agreement with other countries, including the United Kingdom.

Naina Rao serves as Isla Public Media's first News Director. She's extensively produced for National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Culture Desk, and 1A.