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Marcos flies to Japan today

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos flies to Japan today
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. leads the launch of the national tax campaign at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on February 7, 2023.
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos will leave this afternoon for a five-day official working visit to Tokyo, where he is expected to reaffirm the “strong and vibrant relations” between the two countries and lure more investments to the Philippines.

Marcos will be accompanied by First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and top government officials, including former president and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. and Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil.

Over a hundred businessmen are also expected to join the delegation to Tokyo.

Marcos’ visit to Japan starting today until Sunday is upon the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. This is their second face-to-face meeting following their meeting at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September last year.

“The official working visit is expected to reaffirm the strong and vibrant relations between the two countries. It also seeks to maximize the full potential of the Philippines-Japan strategic partnership in all its aspects and facilitate closer defense, security, political, economic and people-to-people ties,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial said at a recent Palace briefing.

Marcos and Kishida are set to hold a bilateral meeting tomorrow to be followed by a working dinner hosted by the prime minister.

The President and the First Lady will be given an imperial audience with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako at an unspecified date and time, according to the DFA official.

During his visit, Marcos will also witness the signing of at least seven key agreements, including cooperation on infrastructure development, defense, agriculture and information and communications technology – areas that are on the President’s priority agenda.

Among the agreements to be signed between the two governments are an umbrella terms of reference on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and an exchange of notes on loan agreements on infrastructure, namely the North-South Commuter Railway from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila and the North-South Commuter Railway Extension from Malolos to Clark International Airport and Tutuban to Calamba, Laguna.

“Japan has been a very important partner in providing assistance in relation to disasters,” Imperial said.

He added that the exchange of notes, on the other hand, will involve $300 billion worth of loans, which will be later signed by the Department of Finance and its Japanese counterpart.

Meanwhile, Marcos will attend round table and business meetings tomorrow and on Friday.

“Judging from the size of the business delegation … and the number of meetings and business activities lined up for the President, we foresee a lot of business deals to be signed in various areas,” Imperial said.

Marcos is also scheduled to meet with the chief executive officers of Japanese shipping companies and associations to advance partnerships with Philippine stakeholders in maritime education and welfare programs for our seafarers, according to the DFA official.

Before returning to Manila on Sunday, Marcos will meet with more than a thousand members of the Filipino community in Tokyo.

There are more than 300,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan.

Japan is Marcos’ ninth official foreign trip since assuming the presidency in June last year.

He went to Beijing, China early last month for a three-day state visit and attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also last month.

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FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

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