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FACT CHECK: Philippines didn’t receive nuclear-capable frigates from Japan 


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FACT CHECK: Philippines didn’t receive nuclear-capable frigates from Japan 
There have been no announcements from the defense departments of either country regarding the supposed acquisition

Claim: Japan has delivered nuclear-capable frigates to the Philippines to bolster the Philippine Navy’s capabilities.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim was posted on June 6, 2024, and has garnered 10,670 views, 197 likes, and 10 comments as of writing. 

The title of the video states: “China Shocked! Japanese Nuclear Capable Frigate for the Philippine Navy Arrives!”

The bottom line: The Philippines has not received nuclear-capable frigates from Japan. There have been no announcements or reports from the defense departments of the Philippines or Japan. Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has also not issued a statement about the supposed acquisition.

The opening seconds of the video show clips from the 2023 Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama, a multilateral exercise involving the Philippines, the United States, Australia, France, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The full video was posted by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service of the US defense department. The video does not make any mention of Tokyo offering nuclear-capable frigates to Manila.

Maritime issues: The video was posted amid tensions in the South China Sea. The Philippines’ allies, including Japan, have condemned Beijing’s continued rejection of a 2016 arbitral ruling invalidating its sweeping claims over the entire waterway. (READ: [EXPLAINER] South China Sea: Why are China and Philippines tensions heating up?)


In April 2024, the US, Japan, and the Philippines held their first trilateral leaders’ summit, where they announced plans to hold joint military activities to “improve interoperability and advance maritime security and safety” in the Indo-Pacific amid growing concerns over China’s increased aggression in the region. 

In May, the Philippines announced that it was set to receive five 97-meter multi-mission response vessels from Japan. The Philippine Coast Guard expects to receive the ships between 2027 and 2028. 

Fact-checked: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims on the Philippines receiving military equipment from other countries:

For legitimate news on Philippine military acquisitions, check the Department of National Defense’s official website, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter) accounts. – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a Rappler intern. She is pursuing a degree in political science with a major in international relations and foreign service at the University of San Carlos, Cebu.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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