MANILA - A Palace official sees Japan giving more military assistance to the Philippines following Japan's move to re-interpret its pacifist post-war constitution that that will allow it to undertake "collective self-defense" in the region.
Japan's pacifist constitution has barred the nation from exercising collective self-defense since 1945, keeping its military from fighting abroad.
While Japan cannot be immediately tapped to defend the Philippines in case of an attack, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the assistance can come in terms of equipment.
"We don't have yet one because primarily of the limitations in the Japanese Constitution. There have been discussions. But, for instance, Japan has - will be assisting us in the acquisition of patrol vessels. So you will see assistance coming from Japan as well and these are at the level of being discussed with; and, insofar as the patrol vessels, we are looking into it right now," Lacierda said.
Lacierda reiterated President Benigno Aquino III's support for the amendment.
''In the meeting of the President with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he supports the idea of Japan revisiting their Constitution for the simple reason that if it can help Japan meet its treaty obligations or international obligations then the better for it… The basis for our support is to enable Japan to meet its international obligations and for that particular reason, we certainly support the idea of Japan revisiting their Constitution,'' he said.
Japan and the Philippines are strategic treaty allies of the United States. Japan and the Philippines both have separate maritime disputes with China -- Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and the Philippines over the South China Sea.
The Philippines earlier filed a case against China before a United Nations-backed tribunal to void the Asian superpower's 9-dash line claim over South China Sea.
Just recently, President Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Tokyo to bolster ties and explore the idea of collective self-defense amid the maritime tensions.