Japan reaffirms pledge to back PH development


Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. AFP file photo

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has underscored the Philippines’ role as Japan’s strategic partner in the Asia-Pacific as he called for a deeper relationship between the two countries amid the challenges facing the region.

In a message to Filipinos released ahead of his arrival in Manila today, Kishida affirmed Japan’s commitment to supporting the Philippines’ development through stronger defense, economic and humanitarian ties.

“Our strategic partnership is in great progress, and I hope to further deepen our cooperation in such areas as the economy, maritime cooperation, peace in Mindanao and response to natural disasters, among others,” he said.

Kishida’s Philippine visit is the first leg of a week-long Asia-Pacific tour that includes Singapore, Brunei and Australia. It is his first overseas trip since becoming foreign minister on Dec. 26 under Japan’s new leadership.

He visited the country in July 2008 as Japan’s then Minister for Science and Technology Policy.

In his message, Kishida cited the importance of Japan’s Asian neighbors, particularly the Philippines, in advancing the security alliance between Japan and the United States, a partnership seen to balance the power setup in the region in the face of China’s rise as a major military power.

“Currently, the strategic environment of the Asia-Pacific region continues to change significantly. Japan, as a responsible democracy, will play a proactive role in the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

“I believe that it is important to strengthen the Japan-US alliance and deepen collaboration with neighboring countries which are developing under freedom, democracy and market economy,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario earlier expressed his support for the rearming of pacifist Japan, a complete shift in dynamics between two countries that were enemies in World War II.

Del Rosario reaffirmed this view Wednesday, saying “a stronger Japan would be a balancing force and could contribute in a great way to stability in the region.”

Japan has become an important defense partner of the Philippines and is finalizing a loan agreement for the Philippines’ procurement of 10 multi-role response vessels for the Coast Guard. This will be one of the matters that will be discussed in Del Rosario’s meeting with Kishida Thursday.

“Japan attaches importance to the enhancement of the maritime security capabilities of the Philippines, and does not begrudge it of assistance and cooperation for that purpose,” Kishida said.

Del Rosario said the meeting this morning will also cover the territorial disputes that the Philippines and Japan have with China. The Philippines has conflicting claims with China over territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) while Japan has been asserting ownership over islands in the East China Sea.

Japan is the Philippines’ biggest trading partner, with total bilateral trade amounting to $12.68 billion from January to September 2012.

Kishida said Japan was keen to tap the Philippines’ labor force for its industries and also participate in infrastructure development in Metro Manila.

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  • superpilipinas

    In earlier news, I thought I read that the 10 Coast Guard vessels were being offered by Japan for free. Is this news talking about another 10 ships? I hope so. It would be like buy 1 get 1 free. Unlike the US which sold us an already old ship and yet they further strip it down.

    PH should sponsor and send navy men to train with Japan’s Coast Guard already. Then we should conduct joint coast guard exercises.

    • tora

       They are not free at all. PH has to be on loan, on Japan’s term.

  • superpilipinas

    PH should invite Vietnam and Japan to a 3-nation meeting to forge an exclusive economic and military alliance. When the alliance becomes a reality, other nations will like to join. Countries supporting China’s aggressive policies should be excluded.

    • tora

       Very unlikely.

    • 我恨中国人

       And the term should be – WEPATO (West Pacific Treaty Organization) – similar to NATO (NATO was formed to counter the rise of the then USSR)

    • StrategicSafe

       That would be interesting to see Russian puppet ally with US puppets. Cold war puppets show. It is funny to see who really controlling these puppets. Let it begin…

  • kilawon

    why would countries like japan,us and vietnam trust the most corrupt country in asia hmm…!

  • DakuAkongUtin

    China must commence more PLAN  sea patrols in South China Sea  to enhance security against Kayu -Japo Alliance.

  • 100% freedom of navigation

    Foreign Companies that maybe a threat to Philippines National Security must be kicked out. Replace them with companies from friendly foreign countries like Peru, Canada, Spain, Australia, EU to mention a few.

  • joboni96

    japan is our natural ally
    even during katipunan era and before
    isinubo lang tayo ng imperyalistang u.s. noong ww2

    get surplus defense equipment from japan tulad noong reparations

    surplus fishing vessels for our fishermen
    repaired by pilipino shipyards

    buti pa japan may reparations

    ang imperyalista isinubo na nga tayo sa gulo
    niyari pa tayo noong sira na tayo

    walang reparations sa sinira nilang manila

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