Japan seen as foil for China


Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. AFP file photo

President Aquino on Thursday expressed the view that a stronger Japan would be a counterweight to the “threatening” presence of China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), foreign officials said at the close of a two-day visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumiou Kishida.

In his first foreign trip as top diplomat since last month’s election of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kishida met with President Aquino at Malacañang after discussions with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

At a joint briefing with Del Rosario, Kishida called for stronger ties with the Philippines to help ensure regional peace, amid tense territorial disputes by both countries with a rising China.

Kishida said Japan and the Philippines agreed to advance cooperation in expanding trade and investment by improvement of the business environment, improving infrastructure in the Philippines though official development aid (ODA), and accepting Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japan.

“As the strategic environment in the region is greatly changing, it is necessary for us foreign ministers to share recognition of the situation,” Kishida said.

Kishida said this also made it necessary to “enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and cooperate in shaping [a] peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. In today’s meeting we agreed on this point.”

He added: “On the political and security front we agreed on strengthening policy dialogue and enhancing maritime cooperation and other measures.”

Both countries are locked in separate territorial disputes with China.

Japan’s dispute is over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

The row between the Philippines and China is over rival claims to parts of the West Philippine Sea, with a group of islands in the Spratly archipelago and the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) as the hot spots.

Del Rosario said President Aquino and Kishida discussed “common challenges” that both the Philippines and Japan face with China’s increasing assertiveness in the West Philippine Sea.

Neither Kishida nor Del Rosario took questions.

Del Rosario did not comment directly on the maritime tensions either, but said he and

Kishida discussed Japanese help in improving the Philippines’ coast guard capability.

“The acquisition of multirole response vessels is undergoing serious consideration,” Del Rosario said, with talks also under way to improve its communications equipment and train its personnel.

The Philippine side wants to acquire through loans 10 new patrol boats from Japan to guard its territorial waters, after buying two refurbished coast guard vessels from major military ally the United States.

Kishida announced Japan’s decision to extend yen loans to two Philippine projects: the extension of Light Rail Transit Line 1 and LRT 2 and a new airport in Bohol province.

Details of ODA projects have yet to be released, but Del Rosario said Japan remained the leading provider of development loans to the Philippines. With a report from AFP

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  • kulkat8

    The Filipinos don’t leave in the past so we prefer Japan over China.  The Chinese cant let go of What Japan did in Nanking but the person (Mao) who caused the death of about 70 million Chinese could be seen smiling broadly on their currency.

    • Raul

      That’s why they called : Stupid people”.

  • 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

    sokor and taiwan
    can also be effective foils
    to intsik switik

    let’s help the taiwanese
    defend their independent country
    to defend our batanes and babuyanes
    from intsik switik hegemony

    • Gibo

      Do not forget. Taiwan has the biggest island in Spratlys. They were the first to occupy the island under our nose in the 60s. Now they are sending drilling rigs around that island.

      I do not think that Taiwan is a friend here.

      • joboni96

        we had no nose and kalayaan claim
        in the 1960’s

        outside our eez
        we are claimants as the others

        we need to help taiwan
        an independent, democratic and wealthy country

        to defend our batanes and babuyanes

        they are our frontline
        against the intsik switiks

  • kulkat8

    Filipinos don’t live in the past that is why we prefer Japan over China.

    • opinyonlangpo

      Is it so? Anyway, basing on Philippine experience, it is better to side with Japan rather than go against Japan.

      • kulkat8

        Actually what I’m saying is,it is about time that more honest businessmen should thrive in the Philippines.

      • opinyonlangpo

        Ah okey you say so, although it is miles apart in context and meaning.

      • truth_will_set_us_free


      • opinyonlangpo

        You are probably talking to yourself, mind reader. You write one thing and you mean another thing.


      Divide and conquer is the rule. These Chinese encroachments are a far more critical to our national interest over our personal reservations and resentment over Japan’s atrocities in WW2. Besides, Imperial Japan in the 40s was run by monarchy with a short sighted vision, which is exactly what the Chinese dictators at present have in common.

    • LMD

      Forgive but not forget. Japan will be an important ally in the Pacific for the time to come now that both Philippines and US wanted a 360-degree turn around in the defense stature of Japan’s existing military policy – which is exactly opposite post 2nd world war. Philippines should SWIFTLY get ready and SERIOUSLY ramp up her own defense just in case things got out of hand. 


    I’d say the US is the main deterrent on Chinese agressions onto Philippine territories. China, run by a limited 25-member octagenarian dictators, has indulged on a Low Intensity Conflict all over the seas and oceans around the Philippines, to evaluate and wear out, if theres any, Philippine government admonishment or from its allies. The trick that China is encroaching into other nation’s territorial sovereignty an inch a day, is working with no major repercussion so far.
    Had the Chinese maritime forces activities inflicted even just a single Filipino fatality, the whole of US and it’s allies would have been on China and the communists would have been sacked back to their dying, polluted beaches.

  • Jason Gerona

    kung JAPAN ang gagawa ng airport sa Bohol. For sure, very nice ang design, gaya ng ginawa nilang airport sa Iloilo

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