Japan Ground Self-Defense Force chief visits Philippines

The Philippine Army welcomed the official visit of Gen. Koji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and his party in Fort Bonifacio today, March 4, 2019.

Philippine Army photo

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.

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.

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.

General 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.

The two army chiefs expressed both their nation’s willingness to continue the exchange of information as both countries recognize each other’s expertise particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The Japan army chief 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,” said Gen. Yamazaki. “I’m very honored to be here to strengthen our bi-lateral relations,” he added.

“The Philippine Army is optimistic that the visit will boost bi-lateral cooperation between the two countries,” said Lt. Gen. Alberto. “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. 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. Philippine Army