Japan GSDF chief of staff visits AFP, Army headquarters
Gen. Koji Yamazaki, the chief of staff of the Japan Ground Self ? Defense Force (JGSDF) visited the headquarters of the Philippine Army (PA) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Philippine Army spokesman, said Yamazaki made his call to the Army chief during his official visit in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City Monday morning.
“Gen. Yamazaki made his office call to the Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto. The purpose of his visit is to reinforce the two country’s strategic partnership and exchange insights on mutual interests,” Zagala said.
“The two army chiefs expressed both their nations' willingness to continue the exchange of information as both countries recognize each other’s expertise particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” he added.
Zagala said Yamazaki “also recognizes the Philippine Army’s counter-terrorism efforts during the Marawi experience and the leadership decisions that helped resolve the crisis.”
“My visit implies that my country recognizes the Philippines as a significant strategic partner in East Asia”, Yamazaki said.
“I’m very honored to be here to strengthen our bilateral relations”, he added.
Zagala said Yamazaki “started his military career in 1983 as an army engineer later holding various key positions in the engineer field of specialization of the JGSDF.”
“He served as the Commanding General of the 9th Division in 2014 and Commanding General of the Northern Army in 2016 before assuming the position of Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in 2017,” he said.
Zagala noted that the Philippine Army chief expressed optimism the “visit will boost bi-lateral cooperation between the two countries”.
“Both armies can learn from each other’s experiences in terms of counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster response through the conduct of training exchanges,” said Alberto.
“We will continue the cooperation with renewed vigor in order to better tackle the various security challenges that both our countries are facing”, he added.
Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP Public Affairs chief, said after his visit in Fort Bonifacio, Yamazaki made a courtesy call to AFP chief General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. at the Bulwagang Balangiga, Camp Aguinaldo.
“During the visit, the maturity and development of AFP-JSDF military engagements have been emphasized, which includes active service-to-service exchanges through the concluded Defense Cooperation Agreement. The visit also reviewed all army-to-army engagements between the Philippine Army and JGSDF,” he said.
“The visit of the JGSDF Chief of Staff and the Defense Cooperation Agreement between AFP and JSDF encouraged more high-level or mid-level exchange visits in the future,” he added.
Detoyato said during their meeting Madrigal “expresses his appreciation on the donated spare parts and other excess military equipment from Japan to the Philippines.”
“The donation has been a great contribution to the advancement of AFP’s capability,” he said.
Detoyato said the three-day visit of Yamazaki will last until March 6. He added Yamazaki will also meet Undersecretary of Defense Policy Ricardo David Jr.
Zagala said “the Philippines and Japan signed the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges in January 2015.”
“The agreement is meant to provide a framework for defense cooperation between the two defense ministries and their respective armed forces,” he said.
Zagala said “on June 8, 2015, the Philippine Army ? Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Terms of Reference was signed, strengthening the friendly relations and cooperation while promoting open discussion of subjects of mutual interest for both armies.”
“As a result, the PA-JGSDF Working Group was established as a platform for both armies to plan or develop bilateral engagements that will enhance capabilities, interoperability and promote discussions of topics which are of mutual interest or mutually beneficial,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS