Japanese troops join war games in Cavite
MANILA, Philippines — From being a mere observer, Japan is now deploying ground troops to participate in the joint Philippine-US Kamandag (Venom) joint military exercises that will start today at Subic Bay in Olongapo City.
Philippine Marines spokesman Capt. Felix Serapio said that around 100 troops from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) will be linking up with 600 Filipino soldiers and 1,400 US Marines in the series of land, air and sea drills on various training sites in the country until Oct. 18.
“These exercises seek to develop military interoperability, amphibious operation competency and strengthen capacity for the conduct of counterterrorism, humanitarian civic assistance and disaster relief operations,” Serapio said.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) will also join this year’s Marines-led joint military drills that include combined amphibious assault exercises on Saturday at the Philippine Marines Corps base in Ternate, Cavite and live fire exercises at the military’s gunnery range in Capas, Tarlac on Oct. 17.
Basic life support and disaster response exercises will also be simultaneously held from Oct. 14 to 18 at Floridablanca in Pampanga, Palayan City in Nueva Ecija and in Subic, Zambales.
“During Kamandag, US and Philippine forces will conduct amphibious operations, aviation operations and counterterrorism response operations; Japanese forces will train alongside US and Philippine forces in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions,” the US embassy said in a press statement.
This year’s joint war games will include Filipino, US and Japanese forces conducting assault amphibious vehicle training together.
Filipino and US servicemen would also be launching the first-ever low-altitude air defense and threat reaction training.
“Together, these activities represent an increase in military capability and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and demonstrate the ability to forward deploy forces in the event of a crisis or natural disaster,” the US embassy said.
Meanwhile, the PAF is in the process of reconditioning seven grounded UH-1 helicopters after the Japanese government donated spare parts to the Philippines early this year.
Maj. Aristides Galang, PAF spokesman, said the seven helicopters have been grounded for quite some time owing to the lack of spare parts to keep these aircraft airworthy and mission-capable.