MANILA — Ties between the Philippines and Japan are now on a “stronger footing” following President Rodrigo Duterte’s third trip to Japan.
In a statement, Malacañang described Duterte’s trip to Japan to attend the 25th Nikkei International Conference on The Future of Asia and meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a “successful” one.
“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,” Malacañang said in a statement.
Malacañang described how Duterte and Abe 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.”
Duterte conveyed appreciation for Japan’s renewed support for the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, the Palace said.
It noted that Duterte also welcomed Japan’s pledge to grant 25 billion yen (some PHP12 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.
Aside from this, the two leaders also discussed modalities for greater cooperation in upgrading the Philippines’ defense capabilities, including in maritime security and maritime domain awareness, Palace said.
Both leaders also looked into the possibility of Japan opening its door to skilled foreign labor, it added.
Moreover, both leaders exchanged views on regional maritime security, non-traditional threats, on-going efforts to secure peace in the Korean Peninsula, supporting free trade, and advancing the rule of law in disputed waters.
Malacañang also touted Duterte’s promise to ensure a corrupt-free business environment for Japanese investors in the Philippines, emphasizing that corruption will never be tolerated.
Duterte met top Japanese and Filipino business executives and welcomed plans to invest and expand their businesses in the Philippines at a business forum organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, Palace said.
The Chief Executive, meanwhile, thanked Japanese partners for their vote of confidence in the Philippines as a trade market and investment destination.
His trip yielded more than USD5 billion (about PHP288.804 billion) worth of business deals, which are expected to generate 82,737 jobs.
Duterte, likewise, 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.
Finally, he met with the Filipino community in Japan and thanked them for their overwhelming support during the May 13 mid-term elections. (PNA)