Japan, Philippines agree to discuss defense equipment transfer

Updated: 2015-06-05 09:47


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TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino have agreed on the start of negotiations to sign an accord over the transfer of defense equipment during their summit meeting Thursday, local media reported.

"P-3C patrol aircraft and radar-related equipment are among potential export items under the envisioned transfer of defense equipment," according to a report by Japan's Kyodo News Agency.

Following the easing in April last year of its strict rules on arms exports, Japan can now export defense equipment and technology to a foreign country under the banner of "global peace and Japan's security interests."

In an apparent effort to blot out images of Japan being a "merchant of death," the country uses the term "defense equipment transfer" to replace "weapon export." However, the trick failed to confuse the public and has triggered strong opposition both at home and abroad. People feared that Japan's weapon export could fuel international conflicts and even break regional peace and stability.

Aquino, on his four-day state visit to Japan, also signed an accord with Abe on the same day to pave the way for Japan to provide patrol boats for Manila.

"Tokyo has promised 10 patrol boats to the Philippines Coast Guard to help Manila beef up its maritime patrol activities," said a joint statement released after their summit meeting.

According to the statement, the two leaders unveiled a road map for better transport infrastructure in Manila to make it easier to conduct business in the capital, known for its traffic congestion.

In this context, Japan pledged to launch a railway project worth about 300 billion yen (about $2.4 billion).

Regarding the South China Sea issue, the two sides said in the statement that "they underscored the importance of resolving maritime disputes based on international law and called for restraint in taking unilateral actions at sea."

This is Aquino's sixth visit to Japan since he assumed office in 2000. Eager to win Japan's support especially on the South China Sea issue, Aquino praised Japan in a Diet speech on Wednesday, saying that the latter "has gone beyond fulfilling the obligation to heal the wounds of the past," though Philippines was also a victim of Japan's wartime barbarities and, right now, some Filipino survivors of Japan's military sexual slavery system are still struggling to fight for their dignity amid the Abe administration's blatant efforts to whitewash the inhumane war crimes.

In another speech on Wednesday, Aquino compared China to Nazi Germany with regard to the two countries' territorial disputes in the South China Sea and called on the United States to play a role in stopping China's rising might.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying has later on Wednesday dismissed Aquino's remarks on the South China Sea disputes.

She warned the Philippines to give up its illusions, stop such provocations and return to the track of negotiation and consultation.