Palace: PH-Japan ties on ‘stronger footing’ after Duterte's 3rd Tokyo visit

JAPAN. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, poses with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a photo prior to their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, May 31, 2019. (AP)

THE Philippines's relationship with Japan is now on “even stronger footing,” following President Rodrigo Duterte's third visit to Tokyo, Malacañang said on Saturday, May 31, 2019.

Palace issued the press statement, when Duterte returned to the country early Saturday morning after a four-day working visit to Japan.

“President Rodrigo Duterte capped his working visit to Japan on a high note, putting the Philippines' strategic partnership with Japan on an even stronger footing,” it said.

Palace touted that Duterte had a “successful” bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and participation in the 25th Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia.

It noted that the two leaders had both agreed to “enhance bilateral cooperation in infrastructure development, trade and investments, agriculture, labor, defense, maritime security and maritime domain awareness, people-to-people exchanges, and the pursuit of just and lasting peace and progress in Mindanao.”

It added that Duterte had also welcomed Japan's fresh commitment of around ¥25 billion for the development of Mindanao's road network, vocational training facilities and equipment, water supply development in the Bangsamoro, and livelihood programs, among other projects.

Malacañang said the President had likewise conveyed appreciation for Japan's renewed support for the government's ambitious Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, citing Japanese development assistance as the “gold standard for the country's development cooperation with other partner countries.”

“President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe also discussed modalities for greater cooperation in upgrading the Philippines' defense capabilities, including in maritime security and maritime domain awareness,” the press statement read.

“They explored opportunities to tap the demographic complementarity between two countries to drive economic growth, including the possibility of Japan opening its door to skilled foreign labor,” it added.

Palace said Duterte and Abe had also “exchanged views on regional maritime security, non-traditional threats, ongoing efforts to secure peace in the Korean peninsula, supporting free trade, and advancing the rule of law, including in the South China Sea.”

It added the President had likewise lauded the Philippines-Japan partnership as one that “empowers rather than fosters dependency” and is the “kind of relationship that we [the Philippines] seek with other countries.”

In a keynote speech at the Nikkei's annual forum, Duterte had emphasized that the destruction caused by natural disasters is “more painful for developing nations and for the poorest of the poor,” Palace noted.

“The President urged for greater accountability among developed countries, stressing that ‘when the lives of millions hand in a balance, there has got to be a way,’” it said.

Duterte, during his trip to Japan, also assured Japanese businessmen that the Philippines is a “safe and profitable destination for their investments,” as he emphasized that “corruption will never tolerated,” Palace said.

Duterte's third visit to Japan yielded P288.804 billion worth of business deals, which are expected to generate 82,737 jobs for the Filipinos.

“President Duterte thanked Japan partners for their vote of confidence in the Philippines as a trade market and investment destination,” Palace said.

Malacañang said Duterte had also met key Japanese tourism industry partners who expressed optimism in doing more business in the Philippines, affirming that the country has remained “one of the preferred tourism destinations of Japanese nationals.”

In a meeting with the Filipino community in Japan, Duterte had also made sure to thank them for the “overwhelming support given during the recent Philippine midterm elections,” Palace said. (SunStar Philippines)


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