On 02 June 2021, Secretary of National Defense (SND) Delfin N. Lorenzana and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi met via video teleconference to discuss bilateral defense relations between the two countries and regional security concerns.
Both officials noted the increasing activities between the two (2) countries' militaries across all major services and agreed that the Philippines and Japan should further deepen cooperation in all areas. Along this line, the two Ministers reaffirmed commitment to support the upcoming activities between Philippine and Japanese defense establishments.
The SND expressed appreciation for Japan's continuous support to the capability-upgrade program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and highlighted that the TC-90 from Japan is being highly utilized for the AFP's reconnaissance missions. Meanwhile, Minister Kishi noted that the transfer of radar systems to the Philippines is progressing smoothly.
Furthermore, both sides acknowledged the importance of cooperation on infectious diseases in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Relatedly, Minister Kishi thanked the Philippines for its support and participation in the recently conducted virtual Japan-ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Program, which focused on the military's role in addressing the said pandemic.
The Ministers discussed various regional security issues, including the situation in Southeast Asia, Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea (SCS)/WPS) and East China Sea (ECS). Expressing grave concern over unilateral actions in the SCS/WPS and ECS, both Ministers underscored the need for all parties to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and to exercise self-restraint in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).