Seven key bilateral agreements expected from Marcos’ Japan working visit

Seven key bilateral agreements expected from Marcos� Japan working visit
Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. presides over a meeting with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, as seen in this Jan. 24, 2023 photo release.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to sign seven bilateral agreements and documents during President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s official working visit to Japan next week.

Marcos Jr., who previosuly said he would lessen his trips abroad, was invited to Japan by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. Agreements will include proposed cooperation in infrastructure development and a $3-billion loan program as well as agreements related to defense, agriculture, and information and communications, and disaster relief

"The official working visit is expected to reaffirm the strong and vibrant relations between the two countries," said Nathaniel Imperial, assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs at the DFA. 

"It also seeks to maximize the full potential of the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership in all its aspects and facilitate close defense, security, political, economic, and people-to-people ties."

Marcos Jr. will be in Japan next week, from February 8 to 12, with official activities beginning February 9. This is the chief executive’s third overseas trip this year, following a state visit to China and a trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum last month, and his ninth since taking post in June last year. 

RELATED: Marcos to travel abroad less, but APEC in November still a priority

Who is part of the Philippine delegation?

The DFA named the following as part of the official Philippine delegation, on top of other cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries: 

  • First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos
  • Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
  • Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri
  • House Speaker Martin Romualdez
  • Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo
  • Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno
  • Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual
  • Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla
  • Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco
  • Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. 
  • Secretary of Presidential Communications Office Cheloy Garafil
  • Bases Conversion Development Authority Chairperson Delfin Lorenzana

A “large business delegation” of about 150 will accompany the government contingent for business deals and to attend business roundtable sessions and a seminar on February 9 to 10. 

The DFA refrained from giving a number on the expected investments from the trip.

'Luffy', issue of 'comfort women' not on agenda

Marcos Jr. will attend a bilateral meeting and a working dinner hosted by Prime Minister Kishida.The chief executive, along with the first lady, was also invited for an Imperial Audience with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. 

Imperial said the issue of alleged Japan robbery leader 'Luffy' and compensation of comfort women will not be discussed during the official working visit.

Luffy’s case is being handled by the Department of Justice, while the country’s position on comfort women and war-related claims has already been settled "as far as the government is concerned."

"However, the government will not prevent private claims [of Filipino comfort women] should such actions be pursued by victims on their behalf," Imperial said. 

"We will not stop the victims because this is an atrocious violence against women during the war but as far as the government is concerned, we have already signed the reparations agreement with Japan in 1956," Imperial added.

Marcos Jr. will also meet with Japanese business leaders, along with CEOs of shipping companies to help relations for maritime education and welfare of Filipino seafarers.

Japan is the only country that the Philippines has a bilateral free trade agreement with and is among the two countries the country has formed a strategic partnership with. 

The president’s meeting with the Filipino community is slated for February 12, before going home. — Kaycee Valmonte

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