The first-ever joint drills between the airforces of Japan and the Philippines will take place from July 5 to July 8, as reported by the Japanese Embassy in Manila on July 1, 2021. In an effort to deepen the defense ties between the two countries, the air-to-air exercises will be held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, formerly a United States military facility. According to Japan’s embassy, the event will mark a “significant milestone” for joint defense cooperation. Furthermore, Maj. Mizuno Masaki, unit commander of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, bared that both countries are disaster-prone so there is so much that can be shared on disaster relief operations for saving lives. During the training, Japanese personnel will operate a C-130H cargo aircraft together with Philippine airmen to distribute relief goods in isolated areas. Japan and the Philippines figure as two key allies of the United States and have both been involved in the long-running territorial dispute over the South China Sea. The announcement was made after other American allies have taken action in protecting their freedom of navigation amid growing Chinese militarization. Japan aided the Philippines in the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

In January 2015, Japan and the Philippines signed a deal to forge closer defense ties, since then, the two countries have conducted 17 joint naval drills. In addition, Japan has also supplied the Philippines with technology equipment that could help the patrols in the South China Sea.