Duterte arrives in Japan for forum, meeting with Abe

Pia Ranada
Duterte arrives in Japan for forum, meeting with Abe
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver a speech at Nikkei's prestigious International Conference on the Future of Asia

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plane touched down in Tokyo at 9:52 pm on Tuesday, May 28 (Japan time), kickstarting his 3rd visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.

The visit’s highlights are Duterte’s attendance to Nikkei’s International Conference on the Future of Asia from Thursday to Friday, May 30 to 31, and his bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.

Duterte arrived with the following officials as part of his delegation:

  • Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Department of Foreign Affairs 
  • Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Department of Finance 
  • Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Department of Agriculture
  • Secretary Mark Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways
  • Secretary Karlo Nograles, Secretary to the Cabinet
  • Secretary Ramon Lopez, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Department of Tourism
  • Secretary Arthur Tugade, Department of Transportation
  • Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Department of Science and Technology
  • Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Department of Energy
  • Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr, Department of Information and Communications Technology
  • Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority
  • Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidential Communications Operations Office
  • Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr, National Security Adviser and Director-General of the National Security Council
  • Secretary Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
  • Carlito Galvez Jr, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity

The Nikkei forum is a gathering of leaders and economic experts in the Asia-Pacific who will discuss the region’s economic prospects and foreign policy concerns.

Duterte is set to give a speech at the forum. He’ll be joined there by other Southeast Asian leaders like Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

7th meeting with Abe

On the forum’s last day, Friday, Duterte and Abe will meet at the Prime Minister’s Office. (READ: Duterte hails ‘golden age’ of partnership with Japan)

Foreign Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre said this will be their 7th meeting. Their last meeting took place in November 2018, on the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Singapore.

The two will likely discuss defense and security, economic cooperation, infrastructure development, and Japanese assistance for the development of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Montealegre during a Palace news briefing on May 24.

Aside from these, the entry of Filipino skilled workers to Japan and regional issues like the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea could be taken up by the two leaders.

Duterte’s speech

Friday is also the day when the Philippine President will address other leaders and Nikkei forum participants.

“The President will likely assert Asia’s role in charting its own future, even as we affirm the larger international frameworks and mechanisms that have given birth through the Asian century we now enjoy,” said Montealegre.

Wednesday, May 29, will be devoted to meeting with Japanese businessmen.

Duterte is scheduled to attend a business forum and two roundtable meetings with Japanese companies. (READ: DTI expects $5 billion in signed deals from Duterte’s Japan trip)

On Thursday, the President is expected to give a speech at a gathering of Filipinos based in Japan. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.