Duterte returns to Japan, 'true friend' of PH
MANILA, Philippines – It's back to the Land of the Rising Sun for President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Philippine leader arrived around 3 am in Tokyo's Haneda International Airport on Monday, October 30, to begin his two-day visit.
It's been a year since his first trip to Japan as president. He was welcomed by Japan State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane, new Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, and Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V.
Duterte was accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avanceña and their 13-year-old daughter Veronica.
His official delegation consists of several Cabinet members:
- Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano
- Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez
- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
- Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
- Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
- Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
- Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar
- Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia
- Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr
- Special Assistant to the President Bong Go
This is also the first official foreign trip joined by Kabayan Partylist Representative Harry Roque after Duterte announced his appointment as Presidential Spokesman.
Duterte is set to have a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday. Abe, who just won a landslide victory in Japan's snap elections, is set to host a dinner for the Philippine president.
In a press conference before he flew to Japan, Duterte said he would thank Abe for Japan's continued provision of assistance to the Philippines.
He called Japan the Philippines' "true friend", partly for their "timely assistance in addressing the threat of terrorism and violent extremism."
The economy will also be a major talking point of Duterte's. He said he would raise with Abe the construction of modern infrastructure in the Philippines, some of which are to be funded by Japan, and peace and progress in Mindanao.
With the looming threat of North Korea missile launches, Duterte and Abe are also expected to talk about security issues in Asia-Pacific.
"We will likewise discuss the advancement of the rule of law in the relations between [and] among nations to support greater stability and security in the region," said Duterte on Sunday night.
Meeting with Royals
Many agreements, mostly to do with trade and the economy, are expected to be signed during the trip.
Some agreements have to do with Japanese companies hoping to do business with the Philippines. Duterte is set to meet with the country's business and industry leaders.
On Tuesday, Duterte will have an audience with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace. The laidback president said he would "limit" his mouth during this rare occasion.
In his first visit to Japan in October last year, Duterte was also scheduled to meet the Royal couple. This meeting was cancelled, however, because of the death of the Emperor's uncle, Prince Mikasa.
The President is also set to meet former foreign ministers and the president of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, Shinichi Kitaoka. – Rappler.com