MANILA - Two Japanese naval vessels made a port call on the Philippines on Wednesday, ahead of the planned visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in mid-January.
The destroyers Inazuma and Suzutsuki of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force docked at Subic Bay in the western part of Luzon, the country's main island, for supply replenishment, maintenance work and crew rest, as well as exchanges aimed at promoting goodwill.
They are returning to Japan after having participated in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
In a statement, the Philippine Navy said the visit "is expected to enhance the already strong relationship" between the two countries' naval forces, while also promoting camaraderie and naval diplomacy.
Japanese officers will pay a courtesy call at the Philippine Navy's Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales, the same province where Subic Bay is located.
A passing exercise participated in by both countries' naval ships is scheduled to be held on Friday in waters off Corregidor Island, the last military bastion of the Philippine and American forces who fought off but eventually fell to Japanese invasion forces in 1942 during World War II.