On July 5-8, 2021, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) conducted a Bilateral Training on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga. This is the first Air-to-Air bilateral training between the two air forces, marking a significant milestone for defense cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.
Both Japan and the Philippines are vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons due to their climate and topography. Japan is proud to share with the PAF the JASDF’s experience and knowledge on delivery operations of relief goods to people in urgent need.
During the said exercise, the JASDF deployed a training unit of Air Support Command – one (1) C-130H cargo aircraft along with its personnel and took part in a four-day joint training session. Due to the unfortunate incident happened to the PAF C-130 aircraft, the inflight training was cancelled, and the activity was focused on ground training such as load/offload training and simulated emergency procedure utilizing one (1) C-130 aircraft from JASDF. The training aimed to strengthen interoperability in delivering relief goods to affected people in an isolated areas in severe emergency situations.
The unit strictly observed all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and quarantine rules set by the Philippine Government particularly those of the IATF- EID upon deployment.
In light of recent events, Unit commander Major MIZUNO Masaki of the JASDF expressed his sympathies over the tragic crash in Sulu, and also praised the PAF and airmen for their cooperation on the bilateral training exercise. “We are deeply saddened by the plane crash in Sulu. We offer our sincerest condolences to all those who lost due to the tragic crash. Nevertheless, we are still very grateful for the opportunity to visit the Philippines and work with the PAF for the first Air-to-Air bilateral training on HA/DR, especially this year which marks 65 years of Friendship and 10 years of strategic partnership between our countries. We shared our knowledge and experience through the exercise and achieved a higher level of coordination and operative capabilities on HA/DR with our Filipino counterparts.”
“As a strategic partner and friend of the Philippines, we are very much satisfied that our bilateral training contributes greatly to further strengthen the cooperation between our two Air Forces.” he adds.
Japan reiterates the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) which is inclusive and based on the rule of law, democratic values, territorial integrity, transparency, and peaceful resolution of disputes, and underscores its intention to work together with the Philippines and other partner countries through a wide range of activities and cooperation for peace, stability, and prosperity in our regions and beyond.
Back in 2013, the JASDF extended assistance to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in November. Japan’s Ministry of Defense and the Japan Self-Defense Forces deployed in total 1,180 personnel, three vessels, and sixteen aircrafts, of which seven were C-130H cargo aircrafts for medical assistance and relief supply in affected areas.
See attached infographic for more details on the accomplishments of Japan-Philippine Defense Cooperation and Partnership that led up to today.