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Japanese destroyer arrives in SBMA for goodwill visit

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MANILA -- The three-day goodwill visit of the JS Samidare (DD-106), a Murasame-class destroyer, will further beef up ties between the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Philippine Navy (PN).

"The goodwill visit aims to strengthen the relationship between the PN and JMSDF. It targets to further enhance and sustain the promotion of peace, stability, and maritime cooperation of the two countries through naval diplomacy and camaraderie," PN spokesperson, Captain Jonathan Zata, said in a statement Friday.

Zata said the Japanese ship berthed on Alava Wharf, SBMA, Olongapo City Friday morning.

The naval vessel, which is carrying two SH-60 patrol helicopters and 200 officers and enlisted personnel, will stay in Olongapo until Sunday.

The JMSDF contingent is led by the Commander of Escort Division Four, Captain Takahiro Nishiyama. In his speech, he stated that the purpose of their visit is to deepen cooperative relationship with the Philippine Navy (PN) through various exchanges and interactions.

“I believe that this visit will make a great contribution to further strengthen relations between our two countries,” Nishiyama added.

Meanwhile, the welcoming PN delegation was headed by Captain Jose B. Petilla Jr., representative of the Navy flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Robert A. Empedrad. The visit is the first for JS Samidare in the Philippines and the second for the visit of the JMSDF this year and the eighth since 2016.

Similar to their previous visits, there will be a scheduled courtesy call to the head of Naval Education, Training and Doctrine Command; pre-coordination meetings; reciprocal reception; and shipboard tour.

A send-off ceremony with customary Passing Exercise (PASSEX) will cap off the JS Samidare's visit. (PNA)

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