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Earlier this month, Japan and the Philippines inked a contract for the delivery of vessels that would constitute the largest in the Philippine Coast Guard. Though this was just one of many developments in the Japan-Philippine defense relationship, it is not without significance for their security ties as well as for the broader bilateral relationship more generally.

As I have observed before in these pages, while Japan and the Philippines have long had a bilateral relationship, the development of the defense aspect of ties has accelerated over the past few years, covering various issues including not just defense equipment and transfer, but also critical capacity-building and broader regional cooperation in areas ranging from cybersecurity to maritime security. Some of that has continued in spite of the challenges posed by the rise of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

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