Pres. Duterte’s state visit would strengthen bilateral relations between PHL, Japan

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to Japan next week would reaffirm strengthened strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan, an official of the Japanese Embassy to the Philippines said on Friday.

In a press briefing in Malacanang, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister for Political Affairs Atsushi Ueno said President Duterte will have a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the Filipino leader’s state visit from Oct. 25 to 27.

”And the two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral issues and regional issues and through these conversations, we would like to strengthen bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership as well as we expect to reaffirm the cooperation on regional and international issues,” Ueno said.

President Duterte will make an official visit to Japan upon the invitation of Abe when the two leaders met in Laos during the ASEAN Summit last month.

Ueno said the two leaders are expected to talk about the possibility of cooperation in maritime security and defense.

While in Japan, President Duterte will meet and address the top Japanese business leaders as well as the Filipino community.

President Duterte’s strong campaign against illegal drugs is also expected to be discussed but Ueno said he has no details yet about it.

Ueno said President Duterte is also scheduled to visit the Japan Marine United Corporation, maker of Coast Guard vessels provided for the Philippine Coast Guard, in Yokohama City.

”Actually, we have delivered the first one and had a turnover ceremony very recently. But we are going to deliver the remaining nine vessels in lieu,” the Japanese embassy official said.

President Duterte will also have a state call on His Majesty, Empero Akihito at the Imperial Palace at 5pm on October 27.

President Duterte’s official visit would be a series of events highlighting the 60th anniversary of the normalization of Japan and Philippines relations.

While the state visit would be his first as President, Duterte had visited Japan “several times before” when he was still mayor of Davao City, according to Ueno.

President Duterte is set to arrive Friday night at the Davao International Airport from his fruitful four-day state visit to China. Jelly Musico/PNA-northboundasia.com