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FACT CHECK: No Japanese ship sent to West Philippine Sea


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FACT CHECK: No Japanese ship sent to West Philippine Sea
There are no official reports from the Japanese and Philippine governments about the deployment of the fast attack craft JS Wakataka in Philippine waters

Claim: Japan sent a ship to the West Philippine Sea after a Chinese warship surrounded the Philippine Navy’s BRP Andres Bonifacio

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a July 7 video posted by a YouTube channel with over 305,00 subscribers. As of writing, the video has 3,000 views.

What the video shows: Superimposed text at the 0:30 mark read: “Intel report Andres Bonifacio warship pinalibutan ng Chinese warship sa West Philippine Sea.” (Intel report: Andres Bonifacio warship, surrounded by Chinese warship in the West Philippine Sea.) 

This was followed by text at the 0:44 mark that read: “Japan nagalit sa China nagpadala ng warship sa Pilipinas para banatan na ang China.” (Japan angered by China and sent warship to the Philippines to attack China.)

The bottomline: There are no official announcements from the Japanese government confirming the deployment of a warship in the West Philippine Sea.

Japanese ship: The ship featured in the video has the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) flag hoisted at its stern or back end. The vessel also bears the number 825. Using advanced Google search, Rappler found a United States Naval Institute news report showing that the ship in the video is the JMSDF fast attack craft JS Wakataka (PG-825).

There are no official news reports from the embassy of Japan in the Philippines, the Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Coast Guard that said Japan sent the JS Wakataka to the Philippines. 

The most recent instance of a Japanese ship being sent to the Philippines was during the Trilateral Maritime Exercise conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard with the United States Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard last month. Japan sent its Akitsushima (PLH-32) patrol vessel for the maritime exercise held off Mariveles, Bataan. Neither JS Wakataka nor the JMSDF was part of the exercise.

The last time a JMSDF ship was in the Philippines was in March, when JS Shimakaze and JS Asagiri of the JMSDF Training Squadron made a port visit to Davao City, according to a news release from the embassy of Japan. JS Wakataka was not part of the said port visit. 

False claims: Rappler has previously fact-checked false claims related to the West Philippine Sea and military activities, including some from the same YouTube channel:

 – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com
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