Lorenzana says Japan attending Balikatan as observer
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Japan’s Self Defense Force will attend this year’s Balikatan exercise as an observer.
“Yes, as observers, only not participants,” Lorenzana said in a text message to the Daily Manila Shimbun.
Lorenzana made the clarification after Yasuhisa Kawamura, Japanese Foreign Press Secretary, mentioned in a press briefing in Malacanang Thursday night the JSDF will be attending the annual exercise between US and Philippine forces.
“The Balikatan, which is the joint exercises conducted between the United States and the Philippines. For this year’s Balikatan, the Japanese Self-Defense Force is going to attend,” Kawamura said.
“Japan will continue to cooperate, promote the cooperation in the defense area, including the capacity building and equipment, and training and exercises and so on,” he added.
Japan attended last year’s Balikatan exercises as an observer.
Other countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam also send their representatives as observers.
Balikatan is one of the major exercises between the Philippine and United States forces in different parts of the country. Robina Asido/DMS