Saturday, April 14, 2012

Japanese Govt mulls providing patrol ships to Philippines

The government is considering providing the Philippines with patrol vessels and a sea-ground communications system as part of its official development assistance, according to sources.

The move is apparently intended to secure the safety of the nation's sea-lanes and help the Philippines boost its maritime security against piracy and counter China, whose maritime activities in the South China Sea have strained its bilateral relationship with the Philippines. 

The Foreign Ministry plans to dispatch officials to the Philippines in May to determine the type and number of patrol vessels to be sent to the country, the sources said.

The government is considering using a yen loan to provide the vessels and grant assistance for the communications system, they added. 

As patrol vessels equipped with bulletproof windows are regarded as arms, their export is usually banned under the three principles on arms exports. However, the government offered such ships to Indonesia in 2006 as an exception to the principles. 

The principles were eased in December with the introduction of regulations allowing exports of defense equipment for humanitarian purposes.

If the government decides to send the vessels to the Philippines, it will be the first case under these regulations. 

The Yomiuri Shimbun | April 4, 2012 | Article Link