Japanese destroyer squadron docks in Manila
Camille Diola, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 2, 2014 - 3:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — Two Japanese warships arrived at the Manila South Harbor on Wednesday morning.

The Embassy of Japan in Manila said that the 13th Escort Division of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) made up of two destroyers JS Shirane (DDH 143) and JS Asayuki (DD 132) is on a four-day goodwill visit until April 5.

The two destroyers docked in South Harbor, Manila, at around 9 a.m. and were welcomed by a receiving party from the Philippine Navy.

"JMSDF ships have visited Manila more than 50 times since 1966, making it one of the most frequent destinations for JMSDF’s training squadron and indicating the strong relations between the Philippine Navy and the JMDSF," the Embassy said in a statement.

The ships are under the command of Captain Hiketo Ikeda, chief of the JMSDF’s 13th Escort Division and are manned by about 480 officers and crew members. The training squadron vessels were accompanied by two patrol helicopters.

Ikeda said the visit would also serve as an opportunity to train 48 newly-commissioned officers of the JMSF.

“The purpose is to train them to get seamanship through this training cruise. In addition to that, I encourage them to understand the strategic importance of Philippines in Asia,” he told reporters in an interview.

Ikeda was scheduled to make courtesy calls on ranking Philippine officials and lay a wreath at the Rizal Monument at the Rizal (Luneta) Park.

Japanese officers and their Filipino counterparts are scheduled to hold joint exercises off Manila Bay on Saturday. The trainings would include tactical maneuvering, deep frog or diving and exchange of signals.

JMSDF vessels have visited the country more than 50 times since 1966.

JS Shirane has a standard displacement of 5,200 tons and has two 20 mm close-in weapon systems, a five-inch gun, a surface to air missile system, an anti-submarine rocket system and two triple torpedo tubes.

JS Asayuki has a standard displacement of 3,050 tons, a 76 mm gun, two 20 mm close-in weapon system, short-range surface to air missile system, two surface-to-surface missile systems an anti-submarine rocket system and two triple torpedo tubes.

Accompanying these ships are SH-60K-type and SH 60J-type patrol helicopters.

Ikeda and the commanding officers of the two ships also visited the Naval Station Jose Andrada in Manila and called on Philippine Navy Vice Commander, Rear Adm. Isabelo Gador.

“The visit will also include activities such as goodwill games, ship tour and receptions to promote camaraderie and friendship between the Philippine Navy and JMSDF,” Philippine Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said.

Personnel from the Philippine Fleet and Defense Acquisition System Assessment Teams will also be given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the advanced weapon and communication systems of the Japanese ships.

The Japanese training squadron will depart for Guam on Saturday.

Related: Japan backs Philippines' legal move vs. China

ASAYUKI CAPTAIN HIKETO IKEDA EMBASSY OF JAPAN ESCORT DIVISION ESCORT DIVISION OF THE JAPAN MARITIME SELF-DEFENSE FORCE IKEDA ISABELO GADOR LIEUTENANT COMMANDER GREGORY FABIC MANILA BAY PHILIPPINE NAVY TWO
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