President Rodrigo Duterte walks as he is accorded with welcome honors upon his arrival at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo on October 30, 2017. Richard Madelo/Presidential Photo

Duterte meets with Japanese imperial couple
Alexis Romero ( - October 31, 2017 - 12:28pm
TOKYO — President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday met with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and thanked them for visiting the Philippines last year.
Duterte was accompanied by his partner Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña during the meeting, his last engagement for his two-day official visit here.
"The president personally extended his appreciation and gratitude for the kindness and compassion of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko when Their Majesties visited the Philippines last year during the 60th anniversary of the normalization of Philippine-Japan diplomatic relations," a Malacañang statement released Tuesday read.
It was the third attempt to set a meeting between Duterte and the imperial couple.
Duterte was originally scheduled to have an audience with the royal couple during his first official visit here last year but it was canceled because of the death of the emperor's uncle Prince Mikasa.
There was another attempt to set a meeting between the president and the imperial couple last June but it did not push through because of the Marawi siege.
The Malacañang statement did not provide other details about the meeting.
Incoming presidential spokesman Harry Roque said information about the meetings with the royal couple is not usually released.
Duterte previously said he was eager to convey his deep respect and admiration for the imperial couple. The Philippine leader, who often curses in public, also vowed to "limit his mouth" during the meeting with the emperor and the empress.
Hours before the audience with the royal couple, Duterte met with the descendants of the late former Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. 
He posthumously conferred the Gawad Sikatuna with the Rank of Raja (Grand Collar) on Fukuda.
The late Japanese leader was cited "for his significant role in helping usher in an era of cooperation, peaceful relations, trust and friendship" between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)."
Fukuda articulated what is now known as the Fukuda doctrine, which states that Japan will never seek to become a military power again and will enhance its ties with Southeast Asian nations.
"For his unequaled leadership in shaping and guiding Japan's relations with the nations of Southeast Asia including the Philippines, such that Japan has become one of the staunchest supporters of ASEAN centrality and unity, regional stability, connectivity and overall development," the citation of Fukuda's award read.
Duterte had a brief chat with the descendants of Fukuda after the conferment ceremony.
The Order of Sikatuna is a diplomatic merit given to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered exceptional and meritorious service in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between the Philippines and their respective countries. 
Duterte also met with former Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is also the chair of the Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council.
Duterte departed for the Philippines at 6:02 p.m. 
During the two-day official visit, the Philippines and Japan promised to strengthen their strategic partnership, which Duterte said is entering the "golden age."
The two countries also vowed to strengthen their cooperation in nine key areas namely infrastructure development in Metro Manila and other regions, energy, employment and improvement of living standards, Mindanao including the rebuilding of Marawi, public safety, information and communications including the National Broadband Plan, environment, agriculture and disaster risk reduction.

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