Japan PM: Ties with Philippines have reached golden age

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Japan PM: Ties with Philippines have reached golden age
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the first Japanese premier to address a special joint session of the Philippine Congress, waves beside Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez at the House of Representatives in Quezon City
Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Japan and the Philippines have reached the “golden age” of bilateral relations, according to visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who vowed on Friday to work with President Marcos to take the two countries’ friendship “to even newer heights.”

“Japan and the Philippines are now experiencing an excellent relationship – we call it the golden age. I look forward to working with President Marcos to take these bilateral relations to even newer heights,” Kishida said as he raised a toast at an official banquet at Malacañang Friday night.

Marcos, for his part, thanked Japan for its support for the Philippines, saying the 67-year-old diplomatic relations between the two countries have been “cultivated by common principles of democracy, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law.”

“Japan has provided us steadfast support and unwavering friendship through many decades. With patient and undistracted focus, we are building our realm of freedom, prosperity and security together in the Indo-Pacific,” the President said.

“Excellency, please bring home this message to the Japanese people, that for their support, the Filipino people are grateful. Let us renew our commitment to sustaining the vigor of this relationship in its prime,” he added, addressing Kishida.

In his two-day official visit, which ended yesterday, Kishida recalled the upgrading in 2011 of the two nations’ bilateral ties to strategic partnership.

During his visit, the Philippines and Japan inked agreements on security, defense, maritime cooperation, mining and tourism industries. Marcos said the deals would “propel the momentum” of the two countries’ ties in the coming years.

The two countries also exchanged notes on official security assistance, wherein Japan will provide the Philippines a grant worth 600 million yen or about P235.5 million for the acquisition of coastal radars that will improve the military’s maritime domain awareness capability.

Japan will also grant the Philippines 957 million yen or $6 million to mitigate the impact of floods in the Bangsamoro region. Also signed were cooperation agreements on mining and tourism.

The highlight of the visit was the two leaders’ bilateral discussions on key regional and global issues.

In a statement delivered after the meeting, Kishida said the two countries agreed to start negotiating a reciprocal access agreement (RAA) as well as to further strengthen the trilateral cooperation among the Philippines, Japan and the US.

“We are cognizant of the benefits of having this arrangement, both to our defense and military personnel and to maintaining peace and stability in our region,” Marcos said.

The Philippines has visiting forces agreements with the US and Australia. Marcos and Kishida also affirmed their commitment to peaceful negotiations to resolve maritime conflicts, citing the importance of a stable and secure environment to attain development.

The Japanese leader also said he was looking forward to Marcos’ visit to Japan for the 50th ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation next month.


In a statement yesterday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced the signing of a tourism cooperation deal with Tokyo on Friday. Marcos and Kishida witnessed the signing.

DOT Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco and her Japanese counterpart Tetsuo Saito, Minister of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, “signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for tourism, the first stand alone cooperation agreement between the two nations.”

Under the agreement, the two countries would strive to “increase tourist arrivals for both countries from world tourist-generating markets.”

The Philippines and Japan would also develop programs “encouraging more tourists to visit various tourist destinations and attractions, including rural areas in each other’s country,” as well as “mutual visits and traffic of high-value-added travelers to increase tourism consumption.”

The agreement also seeks to boost the tourism industries of the Philippines and Japan “especially on the aspects of education, culture, gastronomy, sustainable tourism and adventure.”

Additionally, the two countries would engage in tourism-related information exchange, education and training, transport connectivity and safety measures.

Frasco said she hoped the agreement with the Japanese government would “exponentially expand tourism opportunities with the Japanese,” who comprise the third biggest foreign visitors to the Philippines.

“This shall also usher in further tourism development in the fields of sustainability, air and sea connectivity, education, human capital development, culture, gastronomy, nature and adventure, which shall increase tourism revenues for our stakeholders, usher in more tourism investments and create more jobs for our fellow Filipinos, as envisioned by our President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” she added.

As of Nov. 2, the Philippines has welcomed nearly 250,000 Japanese travelers this year.

The Philippines’ beach, marine and diving sites are the main attractions to Japanese visitors, according to previous statements from the DOT.

Meanwhile, the city of Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte is inviting Japanese golfers to try the soon-to-open 18-hole golf course inside a beach resort, according to Dakak Resorts and Properties general manager Svetlana Jalosjos-de Leon. – Ghio Ong

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