Japan Philippines Defence Deal

  • 09 Jul 2024

On July 8th, 2024, the Japan and Philippines have signed a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) allowing them to deploy their forces on each other’s soil in Manila, Philippines.

Key Points

  • Under the agreement, Japanese forces will be able to deploy in the Philippines for joint military exercises and Filipino forces will be able to carry out combat training in Japan.
  • The pact will need to be ratified by both countries’ legislatures to come into effect.
  • The agreement comes as Japan and the Philippines, both long-standing allies of the United States, are wary of China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
  • The defense pact with the Philippines, which includes live-fire drills, is the first to be forged by Japan in Asia.
  • Japan has signed similar accords with Australia in 2022 and with Britain in 2023.
  • China has laid claim to more than 90 percent of the South China Sea, including waters that lie within the exclusive economic zones of the Philippines and four other Southeast Asian countries.
  • Japan has a longstanding territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands located between Taiwan and Okinawa.
  • China and the Philippines’s coast guards and navies have been involved in numerous confrontations in the disputed waters.
  • In April 2024, the leaders of the US, Japan, and the Philippines held their first trilateral summit in Washington, DC as part of efforts to boost military cooperation between the sides.
  • Philippines has a longstanding defence pacts with Australia and the US and is exploring a similar agreement with France.