FOR the first time, President Benigno Aquino III will deliver a speech before the National Diet, Japan's bicameral legislature, during his state visit there next week, an official said Friday.
Aquino's speech before Japan's parliament when he embarks on a four-day state visit from June 2 to 5 would be a "significant event" because the Diet is considered as Tokyo's highest state organ, said Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs Minda Calaguian Cruz in a media briefing.
“Speaking at the National Diet is a very good platform by which the President can also put forward what have been the developments in the Philippines over a period of time, and at the same time also, the linkages between both countries,” she said.
The President's upcoming trip to Japan will be his fifth, as he had previously been to Tokyo on official and working visits, but it will be his first in terms of a state visit at the invitation of the Japanese government.
Cruz also said that during the visit, he would meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The two leaders are expected to talk about the enhancement of the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan, as well as exchange views on recent developments in the region, she said.
Asked if the West Philippine Sea issue would be raised by the President during his trip, Cruz underscored its importance not just to the country but also to the rest of the world.
"So we hope—we expect this issue to be discussed, and I think the Philippine position will always be reiterated on this, and I think it has been made very public what the Philippine position is as far as the South China issue is (concerned)," she said.
Cruz said the visit is taking place in an auspicious time when the two countries are to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.
"We will look at this visit as a very important visit,” she added.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will receive Aquino at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for the welcome ceremony and a state call, Cruz said, adding that the Emperor and his wife will also host a state banquet in honor of the Philippine leader.
The President will meet with members of the Japanese business community to highlight the recent economic gains of the Philippines and invite them to take advantage of more investment opportunities in the country.
He is also scheduled to speak at the special session of Nikkei’s Future of Asia Conference 2015. A meeting with the Filipino community will be part of his official itinerary. (SDR/Sunnex)