The visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan next week will reaffirm the six decades of strategic partnership between the two countries, a representative from the Japanese Embassy said.
During his Official Visit to Japan on 25 to 27 October, the President will meet with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He will also make a State Call on His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan at the Imperial Palace, according to Japanese Embassy deputy chief of mission and Minister for Political Affairs Atsushi Ueno in a press briefing in Malacanan on Friday, October 21.
President Duterte first met Prime Minister Abe at the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Summit in Vientiane, Laos in September. This will be the second meeting between the two leaders.
The Japan visit, first for President Duterte since he assumed office in June, is expected to strengthen all the more the relations between Manila and Tokyo, Ueno said.
Duterte is also planning to visit Japan Marine United Corporation, where the company is making Coast Guard vessels provided for Philippine Coast Guard.
“Actually, we have delivered the first one and had a turnover ceremony very recently. But we are going to deliver the remaining nine vessels in lieu. So President Duterte will actually see the company how the Coast Guard vessel is built,” Ueno said. The company is located in Yokohama City.
Early this year, the Imperial couple, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, made a State Visit to the Philippines.
Ueno said Japan and Philippines continue to maintain “very good” bilateral relations despite the change in the administration.
“As far as the bilateral relations is concerned, despite of the change of presidency in this country, we can maintain very good relations and I’m sure that we can continue to maintain our good relations with President Duterte and his administration as well,” Ueno said.
He noted that Duterte’s visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan.
Abe and Duterte are also expected to discuss “regional issues.”
“We would like to strengthen bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership as well as we expect to reaffirm the cooperation on regional and international issues,” Ueno said.
On the part of the Philippine government, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said Duterte’s visit will build upon the administration’s policy in “enhancing relations with our neighbors in the region.”
Japan, Banaag noted, is the top trading and official development assistance (ODA) partner of the Philippines in 2015 and the years prior that.PND