TOKYO - The Japanese government said Tuesday it will deliver to the Philippines next Monday two of the five TC-90 trainer aircraft it has agreed to lease for use in maritime patrols by the Southeast Asian country.
It will be the first time that Japanese Self-Defense Force aircraft have been transferred to other countries, according to Japan's defense equipment agency.
A ceremony to mark the handover will be held at the Heracleo Alano naval base in the Philippines on Monday.
The two countries signed an agreement in October over the lease of the five Japanese aircraft, with Tokyo apparently hoping that assisting the Philippines' efforts to bolster its maritime patrolling capabilities will be beneficial in countering China's assertiveness in the South China Sea.
The two TC-90s will leave the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Tokushima Air Base in Tokushima Prefecture, western Japan, on Thursday and head to the Philippines, according to the agency.
The annual leasing fee for the two aircraft is $7,000 each.
The remaining three TC-90s are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the next fiscal year through March 2018, the agency said.