MANILA, Philippines – On the last day of his recent visit to Japan, President Rodrigo Duterte conferred the Gawad Sikatuna with rank of Grand Collar (Raja) on the late Japanese prime minister Takeo Fukuda for his efforts in improving Japan ties with Southeast Asian nations.
The Gawad Sikatuna (Order of Sikatuna) is the highest honor a Philippine president can bestow upon a foreign national.
The conferment ceremony was held on Tuesday, October 31, at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
Receiving the posthumous award for Fukuda was his son, Yasuo Fukuda, himself a former prime minister.
Takeo Fukuda is credited with formulating the Fukuda Doctrine, which forms the basis of Japan’s foreign policy towards the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
He articulated the doctrine in 1977, during a speech given in Manila. The doctrine states that Japan will never aspire to be a military power and that it will strive to build stronger ties with ASEAN member states in a wide range of issues.
Through the doctrine, Japan committed to treat ASEAN and its members as an equal partner.
The citation for Fukuda’s Gawad Sikatuna award reads:
“In recognition of his vital and 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 the visit to Manila; and, 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.”
Past recipients of the award include former US president Barack Obama, former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Japanese Emperor Akihito, and the late Singapore prime minister Lee Kwan Yew.
Duterte, as Philippine president, is this year’s ASEAN chairman. He conferred the award on Fukuda weeks before the Philippines hosts the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Manila.
Duterte will soon relinquish the country’s ASEAN hosting duties to Singapore. – Rappler.com