Duterte to meet with Emperor Akihito in Japan

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with Japanese Emperor Akihito when he visits Japan later this month, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday, October 12. 

In a statement, the DFA said Duterte will visit Japan from October 25 to 27 "upon the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe."

"During his visit, the President will meet with the Japanese Prime Minister. He will also make a State Call on His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan," the DFA said.

Duterte's predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III, also paid a state call on Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko when Aquino visited Japan in June 2015. 

Months later, in January this year, the Japanese emperor and empress also visited the Philippines.

The last known high-level meeting between the Philippines and Japan was in September, when Duterte and Abe met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Vientiane, Laos.

Back then, Abe praised Duterte and said he is "very famous" in Japan. 

Duterte's trip to Japan comes as he asserts an independent foreign policy that is distant from the US and closer to China and Russia. (READ: Why Duterte needs to act like a diplomat)

Before visiting Japan, Duterte will make a state visit to China from October 18 to 21, and also Brunei from October 16 to 18.

Japan is a US ally.  Like the Philippines, Japan also has a territorial dispute with China. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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