Signed Phl-Japan RAA seen before 2024 ends

Photos by Yummie Dingding/PPA POOL
Photos by Yummie Dingding/PPA POOL

The Philippines is targeting to sign a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) with Japan before the end of the year, National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said Saturday.

"Our country's target is to sign the arrangement with Japan, the RAA, before the end of the year," Malaya told reporters in a news forum in Quezon City.

The proposed RAA will facilitate the procedures and set guidelines for when Philippine forces can visit Japan for training and joint exercises, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, Malaya noted that several countries have expressed willingness to assist the Philippines in enhancing its defense capabilities through visiting forces agreements (VFA) or military exercises.

However, he said that such agreements would take time.

"Remember, there are positions held by the DoJ (Department of Justice); there are DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) issues; we have a lot of internal things that have to be arranged and harmonized even before we can come to the negotiating table," he said.

"But the good thing about this is that it's moving at a quick pace," he added.

Malaya said the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have "given instructions to our negotiators to proceed immediately. That's why we are confident that the RAA will be signed before the end of this year."

Days after he met with Prime Minister Kishida and US President Joe Biden in a trilateral summit in Washington, Marcos said the RAA between the Philippines and Japan was nearing completion.

He said the RAA will not be the same as the country's VFA with the US.

The negotiations for the RAA began in November last year.

Daily Tribune