February 2, 2013:
Japan has agreed to provide the Philippines with twelve patrol boats. Ten will be 180 ton, 40 meter (124 foot) vessels and the other two are older 1,700 ton, 97 meter (300 foot) ships. The smaller boats have a crew of about 25 while the larger two have about fifty sailors to run it. The larger ship has a helicopter pad in the rear and carries three small speedboats for boarding parties. Both classes of ships are lightly armed, with a 20-30mm autocannon, machine-guns, and assault rifles. Both classes are seagoing patrol vessels, although the larger ships can stay out for weeks at a time compared to less than a week for the smaller boats.
The two larger ships are to arrive this year and the ten smaller ones next year. Japan and the Philippines have joined forces to confront Chinese claims to most of the reefs and rocks in the South China Sea and waters between China and South Korea and Japan. Japan has a lot of money and the Philippines is broke. Both nations have islands near their coasts that China claims.