The Honorable Undersecretary Ernesto G. Carolina,
Department of National Defense;
The Honorable Rear Admiral Victor Emmanuel C. Martir,
Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Armed Forces of the Philippines;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is my great honor and pleasure to welcome you all to this reception marking the 56th Anniversary of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF), established in July 1954.
Normally, I host this reception in early July, but this year I chose today so that all of you could see our Defense Attaché, Colonel Hideo Takahashi, before he leaves for Japan. I would like to thank you all for your assistance and friendship extended to Colonel Takahashi, and to ask for your kindness likewise to our new Defense Attaché, Colonel Yuki Matsuzaki, who has just arrived.
During Colonel Takahashi's successful three-year posting here in the Philippines, the dimensions of the defense relations between our two countries have developed in a number of ways.
The deepening of the dialogue between our senior officials has taken place, such as annual meetings between your Undersecretary of National Defense and our Vice Minister of Defense during the Senior Defense Officials' Meeting held in Tokyo in the last two years. In addition to these high-level dialogues or visits, about twenty (20) officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) attend seminars and conferences hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces every year. Furthermore, in the past two years, three (3) Philippine Military Academy Cadets have been enrolled at the Japan National Defense Academy.
These encouraging developments in the defense exchange field have added to our efforts to “foster a strategic partnership for the future,” which was agreed between our two Heads of Government in June last year. This ‘strategic partnership' does not mean that Japan and the Philippines will set up a security alliance similar to the Japan-U.S. alliance or the Philippines-U.S. alliance. However, it demonstrates both sides' recognition of each other as strategically important partners for the future. I will spare no efforts to further expand and strengthen the bilateral relations towards that end.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Before concluding my remarks, let me take this opportunity to briefly familiarize you with Japan's security policy and the evolving role of the SDF. Although the security environment has changed dramatically since the SDF was established, the basic pillars of Japan's security policy remain unchanged. These are:
First , to uphold an exclusively defense-oriented policy, without any power projection capabilities such as long-range missiles and aircraft carriers. The defense budget is limited to within one (1) percent of our GDP, of which only about 18 percent is allocated for the procurement of arms and equipment;
Second , to firmly adhere to the three non-nuclear principles of not possessing, not producing, and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan;
Third , to ensure civilian control; and
Fourth , to firmly maintain the Japan-US Security Treaty. On May 28 this year, the members of the Japan-United States Security Consultative Committee (SCC), that is to say, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for National Defense of Japan and their U.S. counterparts, reconfirmed that, in this 50 th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the Japan-U.S. Alliance remains indispensable not only to the defense of Japan but also to the peace, security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The security environment has been changing rapidly in the world. Thus, in order for Japan to contribute further to the peace and stability of the world, we have decided that the SDF should play more active roles in international peace cooperation activities. In this regard, I would like to mention three examples.
First, since last year, Japan has deployed Maritime SDF destroyers and surveillance aircraft to the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, in the fight against piracy, providing security not only for Japanese vessels but also for vessels of other countries. I believe this anti-piracy effort at the center of world maritime trade will provide security for tens of thousands of Filipino seafarers who are working for the global maritime trade.
Secondly, in May last year, Japan sent nearly one hundred SDF personnel to the Philippines to participate in the first ASEAN Regional Forum Voluntary Demonstration of Response on Disaster Relief which was successfully co-hosted by the Philippines and the United States.
Thirdly, since last October, the transportation unit of the SDF and the peacekeeping battalion of the AFP have been working shoulder to shoulder in the Golan Heights under the command of Major General Natalio C. Ecarma of the AFP as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which supervises the ceasefire and disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria.
I believe that these joint efforts in the international stage will further enhance mutual understanding between the SDF and the AFP.
On this happy note, I would like to propose a toast for the continued cooperation towards a strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines, the continued friendship among the diplomatic corps and defense attachés corps, and the good health and success of everyone in this gathering.