Japan air force condoles with Philippines over Sulu crash

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2021 01:40 PM

Japan air force condoles with Philippines over Sulu crash 1
Rescue and recovery operation after a Philippine Air Force C-130 aircraft carrying army troops crash landed in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu on July 4, 2021. Courtesy of Joint Task Force Sulu

MANILA - Japan's air force on Thursday conveyed its condolences to the Philippines following the deadly crash of a troop plane in Sulu that left 52 dead in the country's worst military air accident in nearly 3 decades.

“We are deeply saddened by the plane crash in Sulu. We offer our sincerest condolences to all those who lost due to the tragic crash," unit commander Maj. Mizuno Masaki of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, we are still very grateful for the opportunity to visit the Philippines and work with the PAF (Philippine Air Force) for the first Air-to-Air bilateral training on HA/DR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief), especially this year which marks 65 years of friendship and 10 years of strategic partnership between our countries," he added.

The air forces of Japan and the Philippines completed its first air-to-air bilateral training held at Clark Air Base in Mabalacat City, Pampanga on July 5 to 8.

Due to the crash of PAF's C-130 aircraft, the inflight training was canceled, the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines said.

The activity was focused on ground training such as load or offload training and simulated emergency procedure utilizing 1 C-130 aircraft from JASDF.

"We shared our knowledge and experience through the exercise and achieved a higher level of coordination and operative capabilities on HA/DR with our Filipino counterparts," Masaki said.

“As a strategic partner and friend of the Philippines, we are very much satisfied that our bilateral training contributes greatly to further strengthen the cooperation between our 2 air forces,” he added.

As a maritime state, Japan said it recognized the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific and commits itself to working with the Philippines and other partner countries for peace and stability in the region.

In 2013, Japan came to the aid of the country after Super Typhoon Yolanda cut a swathe through central Philippines, killing over 6,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands families homeless.

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