Romualdez hails PH-Japan defense deal


Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez hailed July 9 the signing of the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between the Philippines and Japan as a “crucial moment for enhanced defense cooperation” amid regional challenges.

The landmark agreement allows expanded participation of Japanese forces in joint military exercises, such as the “Balikatan” drills with the Philippines and the United States, marking a significant step forward in regional security efforts.

Romualdez underscored the importance of RAA in enhancing mutual defense capabilities and fostering deeper strategic ties between Manila and Tokyo.

“The signing of the RAA signifies a crucial moment in Philippine-Japan relations, heralding a new era of strengthened defense cooperation amid evolving regional geopolitical challenges,” said the leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives.

“The RAA highlights our shared commitment to regional stability and security, strengthening our defense capabilities, and reaffirming the Philippines’ strategic partnership with Japan,” he added.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., alongside key government officials from both nations, witnessed the ceremonial signing of the RAA by Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Japanese Defense Minister Kihara Minoru at Malacañang July 8.

The RAA stemmed from commitments made during the inaugural PH-Japan Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting early this year, highlighting a concerted effort to deepen cooperation in defense and security matters.

Formal negotiations, initiated in Tokyo in November under the leadership of the Department of National Defense, were further supported by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Justice.

“This agreement reflects our shared values of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,” Romualdez pointed out in a press release from his office. “It underscores the Philippines’ proactive approach in addressing security challenges and promoting a rules-based international order.”

The signing ceremony culminated in a joint commitment to implement the RAA effectively, setting a foundation for expanded defense collaboration that is poised to contribute significantly to regional peace and stability. ||