'Matters of diplomacy,' Japan says of info exchange with PH on terror threat

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2021 04:25 PM | Updated as of Sep 17 2021 05:09 PM

MANILA - The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines has declined to disclose details on whether or not relevant intelligence information about possible terror attacks in the Philippines has been relayed to the Department of National Defense (DND).

In a statement, the Japanese Embassy said “all exact information and views exchanged between Japan and the Philippines are solely subject matters of diplomacy.”

The Philippines and Japan, the embassy pointed out, signed a Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges in 2015. 

The memorandum aimed “to further deepen and broaden their security and defense cooperation and partnership.”

“Please be informed that Japan and the Philippines share common strategic interests and perspectives on security challenges, viewing stronger bilateral defense cooperation as mutually beneficial," the statement read.

“However, all exact information and views exchanged between Japan and the Philippines are solely subject matters of diplomacy. Therefore, we cannot disclose details. Thank you for your understanding.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said he has asked Japan’s defense attaché to provide more details on the notice it issued to its citizens about possible terror attacks in 6 Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.

Lorenzana noted that the details are important so security forces would know more about the warning and take appropriate action.

He added that the defense department has yet to receive any message from Japanese officials.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has yet to spot any signs of an "imminent attack," he said. 

The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines on Tuesday confirmed that their government issued a warning to alert Japanese people residing in some Southeast Asian countries over a possible terror attack.

The Japanese government supposedly received information on possible terror attacks or suicide bombings in these countries.

The Philippines has been on heightened alert since extremists took siege of the southern city of Marawi in 2017, noted Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque. 

Terror attacks involving foreigners and deadly suicide bombings have been recorded in recent years. 

Last year, the President signed a controversial anti-terror law meant to quell terrorism but criticized for provisions that could lead to human rights abuses. 

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