Tokyo, Japan — Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan received President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Imperial Palace here, Tuesday, October 31.
The President was accompanied by his common-law partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña.
This is the first meeting of President Duterte with the Japanese Imperial couple.
He was supposed to meet the royal couple during his first official visit here in October last year but it was cancelled due to the death of Emperor Akihito’s uncle Prince Mikasa.
There was another attempt to hold the meeting between the President and the Japanese imperial couple last June but it it did not push through because of the Marawi siege.
The President personally extended his appreciation and gratitude for the kindness and compassion of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko when Their Majesties visited the Philippines last year during the 60th anniversary of the normalization of Philippine-Japan diplomatic relations.
He earlier said that he was eager to convey his deep respect and admiration for the Japanese imperial couple.
Before the audience with the royal couple, the President met with the descendants of former Prime Minister of Japan Takeo Fukuda.
The Chief Executive posthumously conferred the Gawad Sikatuna with the Rank of Raja (Grand Collar) on Fukuda.
In the citation, Fukuda was conferred the prestigious award “for his significant role in helping usher in an era of cooperation, peaceful relations, trust and friendship between Japan and ASEAN, through his articulation of the ‘Fukuda Doctrine’ on 18 August 1977 during his visit to Manila.”
“For his unequalled leadership in shaping and guiding Japan’s relations with the nations of Southeast Asia including the Philippines, such that Japan has become one of the staunchest supporters of ASEAN centrality and unity, regional stability, connectivity and overall development,” the citation also read.
The Chief Executive had a brief chat with the descendants of Fukuda following the conferment.
The Order of Sikatuna is a diplomatic merit conferred upon diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered exceptional and meritorious service in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between the Philippines and their respective countries.
The President also received in a courtesy call former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is also the chair of Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council.
Duterte returned back to the country after a successful two-day official visit in Japan. ###PND