Marcos Jr. administration

HIGHLIGHTS: Marcos visits Japan

HIGHLIGHTS: Marcos visits Japan


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. embarks on his third foreign trip in 2023, for an “official working visit” to Japan.

Marcos visits Tokyo from February 8 to 12, at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. In Japan, Marcos and his entourage are set to meet with their Japanese counterparts, sign bilateral agreements, and attend meetings with business leaders.

This is Marcos’ ninth overseas trip since assuming the presidency in June 2022.

We have stopped updating this page as of February 13, 2023. To follow developments on this issue, please visit our topic page on Philippines-Japan relations.  


Japan’s peace process assistance

Bea Cupin

Speaking with members of the Japanese parliament on Thursday, February 9, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. thanked Japan’s government for its support of the peace process in the Bangsamoro, as well as continued development assistance.

“It has been a critical part of our peace process. It is a process that we have been undertaking for many, many years and I think and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the participation of the Japanese support in that peace process has been invaluable,” Marcos was quoted as saying in a Palace release.

Japan has played various roles in the Bangsamoro peace process. Official development assistance or ODA from Japan allocated for peace and development in Mindanao has reached over 51 billion Japanese yen, noted Malacañang.

Marcos also thanked Japan for giving overseas Filipino workers there “a very good life.”

Marcos meets with Japan PM Fumio Kishida

Japanese business execs’ concerns: VAT, workers’ upskilling

Bea Cupin

In a meeting with semiconductor, electronics, and wiring harness companies while in Tokyo, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. promised to “respond” to concerns by Japanese executives over difficulties in doing business in the Philippines.

According to a release from Malacañang, businessmen counted value-added tax, refund issues, and logistics and manpower requirements as their top concerns.

Marcos promised that his government would “pursue intensified efforts to upskill and reskill Filipino workers.”

Marcos also led a roundtable meeting with tourism stakeholders while in Japan. There, he and Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco promoted “educational tourism” via the exchange of students and professions in tourism-related institutions.

Rappler Recap: Why is Marcos in Japan?
HIGHLIGHTS: Marcos visits Japan

Marcos: No formal talks yet on military access agreement with Japan

Sofia Tomacruz
JAPAN VISIT. President Marcos speaks to reporters on board PR001 en route to Japan for a 5-day official visit.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday, February 8, that the Philippines and Japan have yet to start formal talks on a reciprocal access agreement that would strengthen ties between their military forces.

“The VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) equivalent, hindi pa talaga namin napagusapan (we haven’t talked about it) formally yet. I don’t know if Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida will take it up with me in this trip, but so far there have not been any formal proposals on that area,” Marcos said.

During Marcos’ visit, Filipino and Japanese defense officials expect to sign an agreement that would allow for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities between Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Officials from both countries see the effort as a “stepping stone” to a reciprocal access agreement because drills focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief would already involve procedures that a military access deal would cover. This included settling on the number of Japanese troops that would participate in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities, as well as their legal status while in the Philippines. 

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Marcos attends dinner with Mitsui, Metro Pacific Investments

Bea Cupin

Marcos lands on Tokyo

Sofia Tomacruz

‘Larger foreign policy’

Bea Cupin

Japan is among Manila’s key economic allies. But in his departure speech, Marcos emphasized how the official visit is “part of a larger foreign policy agenda.” The Philippine President said the goal is to “forge closer political ties, stronger defense, and security cooperation, as well as lasting economic partnerships with major countries in the region amid a challenging global environment.”

His visit comes as tensions between superpowers China and the US escalate because of actions inside and outside the region. A huge Chinese balloon found floating above US airspace was reportedly found to be part of a larger surveillance program of Beijing, according to Washington. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has canceled a planned visit to Beijing in the aftermath of the balloon discovery.

Beijing also recently chastised the US for supposedly making regional tensions worse after Manila and Washington announced four new military sites where Americans can access and preposition their military assets.

7 bilateral deals to be signed in Japan

Bea Cupin

What you need to know about Marcos’ visit to Japan

Bea Cupin

This trip will be his third foreign travel in 2023 alone and his 9th in just over seven months in office. In January 2022, he flew to China for a state visit and then to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. 

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