AS the Philippines and the US Navy hold joint training in the South China Sea (SCS), the Japanese Navy conducted its own anti-submarine warfare exercise in the disputed area.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, two Japanese warships—helicopter carrier JS Izumo and Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare—and a submarine participated in the naval exercise in the SCS “to increase awareness of operational environment and to improve its tactical capabilities.”
It is not known where exactly in the SCS the Japanese naval forces held their exercises but it occurred on the same day the US and the Philippine Navy had their “bilateral sail” in the area.
The Philippines and Japan are both allies of the US.
However, the Philippines and Japan don’t have a bilateral defense treaty yet. Both governments are still negotiating an agreement that would allow holding of joint exercises.
Since April this year, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has been conducting sails in the Indo-Pacific region. This is the 7th year of the Indo-Pacific Deployment 2023 (IPD23) that now includes participation in joint military exercises with other navies such as with Quad members, the US, India, Australia.
“The Self-Defense Fleet maintains readiness and contributes to peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region and the international community in cooperation with allied and like-minded navies, not only for the defense of Japan, but also for the realization of a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ and a security environment that does not tolerate any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force,” the JMSDF said in a statement.