Japan interested in Trump-Duterte phone conversation
MANILA — The Japanese government wanted to pick President Duterte’s mind about his recent telephone conversation with US President-elect Donald Trump, according to a Japanese official who met with the Philippine leader Monday night.
Katsuyuki Kawai, special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Tokyo wanted to specifically know how it could help in President Duterte’s war on drugs and how bilateral relations could deepen.
“The third is the teleconference between President Duterte and President-elect Mr. Trump held on Dec. 2nd and the purpose was to ask his impression about the teleconference,” Kawai told a press briefing at the Embassy of Japan.
“President Duterte mentioned that he appreciates that President-elect Trump values his policy. President Duterte seems to have very positive insight about improving the US-PH relations,” Kawai said.
He said no specific policy was mentioned during the discussion of the phone call. Although according to Mr. Duterte’s earlier statements, Trump had expressed support for his campaign against illegal drugs.
Abe was the first head of state to meet with Trump after the latter won over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential elections. He had praised Trump as a “trustworthy leader.”
President Duterte has had a rocky relationship with outgoing US President Barack Obama, whom he has cursed for expressing concern over his brutal anti-drug war. He has also reduced events and activities connected to the country’s defense arrangements with the US, and said he has been looking towards China and Russia as part of his new defense strategy.
But he has expressed admiration for Trump, who according to him, backed his war on drugs that has left thousands dead in just a few months.
Kawai said the meeting Monday was also meant to convey the prime minister’s message to deepen Japan-Philippines bilateral relations and the dispatch of the research team that would look at what kind of assistance Tokyo could provide Manila to support the fight against illegal drugs.
“President Duterte mentioned repeatedly that the Philippines wholeheartedly welcomes the dispatch of the Japanese team and the Philippines appreciates the Japanese assistance,” Kawai said.
Based on the World Health Organization’s standard, Japan has the lowest level of drug abuse, with less than 0.1 percent of its population estimated to be drug users, according to Kawai.
“Shabu is the type of drug that is abused most in Japan as well as in the Philippines and it would be beneficial and fruitful to transfer Japan’s countermeasure to the Philippines,” Kawai said.
Japan has achieved success in drug abuse prevention with treatments based on cognitive behavioral therapy, especially psychotherapy, Kawai said.
“The treatment is implemented in domestic prisons almost 100 percent nationwide. It is scientifically proven that recidivism rate of drug use is dramatically decreased by that treatment,” he said.
The Japanese team proceeded to inspect the Department of Health’s Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Taguig City on Monday. They will have a series of meetings with various Philippine government agencies until Dec. 16. SFM
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