Saturday, March 24, 2012

Japan to provide patrol boats to Philippines via development aid

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan is considering providing patrol vessels to the Philippines through a development aid program to help the Southeast Asian country improve its maritime security capabilities, senior government officials said Friday.

After receiving an official request from the Philippines, Japan is ready to work out the specifics, including how many and what kind of vessels will be provided, the officials said.

In late February, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said Japan is ready to provide patrol boats to coastal developing countries in an attempt to improve the security of international sea lanes and help them combat pirates and terrorism.

The provision, using Japan's official development assistance, has been under consideration since the government eased the principles on arms exports in December.

The government is planning to send a team of experts to the Philippines in the foreseeable future to find out its needs and maintenance capabilities for such vessels, the officials said on condition of anonymity. Read More