Duterte hails 'golden age' of partnership with Japan

MANILA, Philippines – In the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Rodrigo Duterte hailed the "golden age" of ties between the Philippines and Japan.

"I dare say that, considering what we have accomplished and achieved, the Philippines and Japan are building a golden age of our strategic partnership," said Duterte on Monday, October 30.

He and Abe were giving a joint press statement in Tokyo, after a slew of official activities.

He spoke of the commitment of the two countries to expand and strengthen ties.

"It is a commitment founded on democratic values we hold dear. It's a resolve that has withstood the test of time. Working together we shall have much to show and be proud of in the years to come," said Duterte.

Abe, in his speech, called Duterte a "dear and cherished friend."

He reiterated Japan's commitment to provide one trillion yen or $8.66 billion in support, spread out over 5 years. Abe had first announced this during his visit to the Philippines in January.

The assistance, to come from official development assistance and private sector investment, will focus on 9 areas – infrastructure (Metropolitan Manila Subway project, North-South commuter railway, roads and bridges, among others), energy, job creation, support for Marawi and the Bangsamoro peace process, anti-illegal drugs, telecommunications, environment, agriculture, and disaster prevention.

Duterte, in his speech, also stressed the need for the Philippines and Japan to address security threats plaguing the East Pacific region, particularly the missile launch threats from North Korea.

"I share concern on the developments in the Korean Peninsula and the continuing missile test launch of North Korea," said Duterte.

Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that Duterte's second Japan trip is set to reap $6 billion worth of private sector investments and joint ventures.

Earlier that day, Duterte met representatives from several Japanese companies and witnessed the signing of company-to-company memoranda of understanding and letters of intent to invest in the Philippines. – Rappler.com

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.

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