MANILA, Philipipnes – When President Benigno Aquino III goes to Tokyo on a state visit next week, he will address Japan’s parliament – a rare opportunity that is not extended to all visiting leaders.
“I think it is of interest for Japan to see how the Philippines has been doing,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs (ASPAC) Minda Calaguian-Cruz told Malacañang reporters on Friday, May 29.
Aquino’s mother, the late democracy icon Corazon Aquino, also addressed Japan’s parliament during a state visit in 1986, right after she ascended to the presidency following the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Aquino will be in Japan June 2-5. He will be received by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who will hold a banquet in his honor at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
He will have a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a time when the Philippines and Japan are improving security cooperation in the wake of disputes with China over maritime features in the South China Sea and the East Sea, respectively.
Philippine defense officials are joining Aquino on the trip to discuss with their Japanese counterparts the possible transfer of assets and equipment.
“Japan also gets a lot of things from us,” Cruz said. She noted how Japan’s seafaring industry counts on Filipino seafarers to man its ships.
“We are partners also with Japan in the international arena. The Philippines has a vast experience in international peacekeeping operations. Now, I think that can also be shared with Japan and the other countries in the region,” Cruz added.
Cruz said the President will also meet with Japan’s business sector to attract more investors to the Philippines and with the Filipino community there. – Rappler.com
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