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MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte brought home a number of agreements from his official visit to Japan, a country he described as a “true friend” of the Philippines.
During his 3-day visit, Duterte held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who hosted a dinner for him the same night. Cabinet members also got to interact with their Japanese counterparts during the expanded bilateral meeting.
The Philippine President keynoted a trade and investment forum where he encouraged Japanese businessmen to invest in the Philippines. He was also able to visit the headquarters of the Japanese Coast Guard where he and Cabinet members got to watch a capability demonstration.
Duterte was supposed to cap his trip with a courtesy call on Emperor Akihito but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute because of the death of the Emperor’s uncle, Prince Mikasa.
Most of the deals Duterte brought back home have to do with defense cooperation, specifically maritime security, and economic cooperation, specifically in agriculture.
Here is the list of agreements:
- Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Communication (Japan) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (Philippines)
- Exchange of notes on loan from Japan on Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation: HARVEST
- Exchange of notes on loan from Japan on Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (Phase II)
- Documents concerning the loan agreement for maritime safety capability improvement project for the Philippine Coast Guard between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Philippine government
- Memorandum of Implementation on defense equipment TC-90 and the exchanges of documents concerning the letter of arrangement on defense equipment TC-90
Aside from these documents, Duterte gave several pronouncements in Japan that would impact on his relationship with the Asian power.
He assured Prime Minister Abe that he has no intention of forging a military alliance with China, a country with which Japan is embroiled in a territorial dispute.
Duterte also assured Abe that, one day, the Philippines will bring up the Hague ruling on the West Philippine Sea with China.
Japan supports the Philippines’ legal victory over China and Abe himself has called on Beijing to comply with the “final and legally-binding” ruling.
Duterte’s official delegation to Japan was composed of the following:
- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
- Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea
- Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay
- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez
- Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
- Public Works Secretary Mark Villar
- Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello
- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
- Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
- Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo
- Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
- Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
- Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia
- Communications Secretary Martin Andanar
- National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr
- Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr
- Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (chairman of Senate committee on foreign relations)
- Senator JV Ejercito (chairman of Senate committee on urban planning)
- Representative Arthur Yap (chairman of House committee on economic affairs)
- Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Charge’ d’ Affaires Marian Jocelyn Tirol-Ignacio