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Japan and the Philippines have not yet held any formal discussions over VFA: Marcos

According to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, formal negotiations on a potential visiting forces agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and Japan have not yet begun.

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Marcos made this remark in response to the Department of National Defense’s announcement that it is considering a VFA with Japan, making it the third country, after the US and Australia, with which the country has this type of agreement.

Marcos mentioned Japan’s cooperation in supporting the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in terms of capacity-building, which includes delivering equipment, despite the lack of communication between the two nations on the VFA.

They have been aiding the Coast Guard for a very long time, and this kind of collaboration is still happening on now. The improvement and rehabilitation in Subic for the Coast Guard (for the Coast Guard) is the next stage, Marcos stated in a press conference while traveling to Japan. “Perhaps to them,” he said.

The government pitched Japan a plan to construct a PCG facility in Subic Bay last month.

Jose Faustino Jr., a former Department of Defense officer-in-charge, claimed that both nations wanted a VFA so that Philippine and Japanese troops could train together.

In order to complement the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) and BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702), its largest and most technologically advanced assets, the PCG revealed its intention to buy more ships from Japan.
Marcos also emphasized the significance of intensifying defense cooperation with the nation’s longtime ally.

Naturally, they want more patrols around the South China Sea so that we can guarantee the freedom of passage, which is the rationale behind everything, he said.

He noted that cultivating closer ties with Japan will also assist the nation in achieving its objective of continuously modernizing the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP).

“Since we’re now discussing the security of the region, this is a new aspect of our relationship. Therefore, since we are all naturally interested in maintaining regional security, cooperation is not a bad idea, he remarked.

From February 8 to February 12, Marcos will be in Japan on an official five-day visit to strengthen bilateral relations on the political, security, and economic fronts.

more investments in agriculture

Marcos expressed hope that further Japanese agribusiness deals will come about.

He referred to significant agreements anticipated to be signed between the Philippines and Japan, which include an agreement in agricultural cooperation. “Well, number one, that opens up hindi lamang (it won’t just be) the usual exchange of technology, but that’s an important part of it, as well as investment in agriculture and hopefully opening markets in Japan for our agricultural products,” he said.

In order to cement more investments and establish economic ties, he declared that he will be meeting with various Japanese politicians and business executives.

“That’s a fairly comprehensive discussion, then. So sure, we want to make significant progress in that area in order to “accelerate our agricultural development,” he continued.

The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement is the only bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) that the Philippines has (JPEPA).

Japan was the Philippines’ second-largest commercial partner, third-largest export market, and second-largest import market in 2021.

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