– by Manila Bulletin
The Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) of the Philippine Navy said that Japan’s largest naval ship JS Izumo is set to arrive in the Philippines in June of this year for a goodwill visit.
Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado made the revelation following an ambush interview Monday (March 27) at the headquarters of the Naval Air Group (NAG), Naval Base Haracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City.
Mercado was there to personally witness the turnover of two units of the Beechcraft TC-90 training aircraft from the Japan Ministry of Defense (JMOD), in a transfer ceremony.
Mercado said the JS Izumo (DDH-183) will be visiting this June and will dock in Subic Bay, Zambales.
“Yes, it will be visiting in June of this year,” Mercado said.
“The JS Izumo the largest Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force vessel will be visiting the Philippines in Subic and the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines… we’re looking forward to that visit,” he added.
When asked what will be the activities during the visit, Mercado said everything is still in the planning stage.
“We are still planning whatever activities that we are going to have with them, but definitely they are going to allow the visit by some of our troops to have an idea of that particular vessel,” Mercado said.
Mercado, who was able to board the vessel when he visited Japan, said JS Izumo is a huge helicopter landing vessel and currently the largest right now within the inventory of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.
When asked by reporters how many days the ship will be staying in the country, Mercado said he still cannot say.
“Again i cannot, I am not aware of the specifics of the visit. Right now we’re trying to coordinate with them for some activities between the Philippine Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force,” Mercado said.
JS Izumo a helicopter carrier but officially classified by Japan as a helicopter destroyer is the lead ship in the Izumo class of the JMSDF.
JS Izumo, which is 248 meters long (814 feet) is the second warship to be named for Izumo Province, with the previous ship being the armored cruiser Izumo (1898).
The ship, an Izumo class helicopter destroyer, was commissioned on March 25, 2015. It has a speed of more than 30 knots (35 mph or 56 km/h).
By Francis Wakefield