Two Japanese warships arrived in Subic Bay Wednesday (January 4) morning, joining five other U.S. navy ships docked in this Freeport since new year's day.
The Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105) and Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) docked at the port of Subic for a three-day visit.
The ships are part of the Escort Division Four, commanded by Captain Atsushi Minami. JS Inazuma is commanded by Cdr. Soichiro Tashiro, while Cdr. Kentaro Nakayama commands the Suzutsuki.
This is the fourth port call of Japanese warships in Subic Bay. Japan's maritime force made its first goodwill visit to the Philippines after 15 years in early April last year with its submarine JS Oyashio (SS-511) and two destroyer ships, the JS Ariake (DD-109) and JS Setogiri (DD-156) docking in Subic Bay, followed by the visit of Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer, JS Ise in late April, 2016.
In the meantime, five U.S. ships docked and welcomed the new year here, to the delight of business establishments and residents in this former US Naval Base.
The USS Pecos, USNS Tippecanoe, USNS Cesar Chavez, USNS Impeccable and USNS Bowditch arrived without much fanfare nor announcement by the US Embassy in Manila.
In Manila, the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs, along with the sea tanker Boris Butoma, anchored at South Harbor on Tuesday for a week long goodwill visit.
The Philippine Navy welcomed the two Russian warships, coinciding with Manila’s expressed readiness to shift from relying on the US as its sole and dominant partner in the Western Pacific.
The Russian marines are expected to discuss and share tactics to help combat terrorism and piracy in the region. Moscow is also eager to conduct joint military exercises with its Philippines counterparts in the future.
“There will be courtesy calls, tour of historical places within Manila and nearby Cavite province, capability demonstration, goodwill games, wreath laying, shipboard tour and send-off ceremony among others,” Capt. Lued Lincuna, a spokesman for the Philippine Navy, said.
Lincuna also noted that this is the third time a contingent of the Russian Navy has visited the Philippines. But it is the first visit by Russian navy ships since Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last June. Russian ships docked in the Philippines in May 2016 and in January 2012. (SNL, with reports from Subic Bay News and RT.com)
 The Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma approaches the Alava pier of the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales for a routine port call Wednesday (January 04) morning. Another Japanese warship, the JS Suzutsuki, an Akizuki-class destroyer also docked in this premier industrial port facing the West Philippine Sea for a 3-day port visit. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)
 Sailors aboard the US Navy supply ship USNS Cesar Chavez hoist an American flag as the JS Inazuma approaches the Alava pier of Subic Bay Freeport zone in Zambales for a routine port call Wednesday (January 04) morning. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)
Subic Bay News: 5 US Ships Welcome New Year in Subic