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Japan to supply 5 countries with free patrol boats to counter China.

| 2023

According to information published by Japan News on August 8, 2023, the Japanese government has initiated talks about supplying naval defense equipment freely to six "like-minded" nations in the upcoming fiscal year through the Official Security Assistance (OSA) program.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Japanese Aso-class patrol vessel Dewa. (Picture source: Japanese government)

Amid the evolving geopolitical challenges, Japan seeks to enhance the maritime defenses of countries in vital strategic locales. Their main aim is to counteract China's augmented marine activities and military growth.

For 2024, the OSA has earmarked nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, and Djibouti. Notably, the first three have ongoing maritime disputes with China in the South China Sea.

China's influence is growing in Papua New Guinea, while Mongolia neighbors both China and Russia. Djibouti, positioned along key Japanese maritime routes, is home to a Japanese Self-Defense Force base.

To strengthen its oversight of territorial waters and skies, Japan is considering equipping these nations with patrol boats, radar tech, drones, and communication tools.

Final decisions regarding aid recipients and the scale of assistance will be determined post consultations with involved nations and comprehensive ground assessments.

Earlier in April, a policy was established to limit OSA aid to areas with minimal chances of international conflict involvement, focusing mainly on monitoring territorial regions and executing humanitarian relief tasks.

In 2020, Japan and Vietnam inked an export agreement for six vessels intended for the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG), locally referred to as the "TT-1500 patrol ship".

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