10 January 2013

Department of Foreign Affairs, Pasay City

Press Statement of Hon. Secretary Albert F. del Rosario

SFA FM

 

Today I had the pleasure of meeting His Excellency Fumio Kishida, the newly-appointed Foreign Minister of Japan. The Philippines is the first country that His Excellency has visited since his appointment as Japan’s foreign minister, for which we are deeply honored. The official visit of Foreign Minister Kishida also reaffirms the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

SFA FM 2We had productive discussions on various important bilateral as well as regional issues, such as trade, investments, tourism, development assistance, people-to-people exchanges and maritime security and the Mindanao peace process.

Japan is the Philippines’ number one trade partner with total trade exceeding US$13 billion last year. Japan also remains as the Philippines’ top export market for 2012.

Japan has been the Philippines’ number one source of approved investments since 2009 with approved investments reaching PhP 22.35 billion in the 1st half of 2012 alone. The Philippines is also looking into possible collaboration in the promotion of investments with Japanese small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

Japan remains the number one source of development assistance in terms of loans. Thus, the Philippines looks forward to stronger cooperation with Japan in developing our country’s infrastructure particularly in the transportation sector.

Japan ranks third in tourist arrivals, as there were 375,248 Japanese tourist arrivals between January to November 2012.

SFA FM 3The people-to-people exchanges have deepened the ties of friendship and understanding between the Philippines and Japan. Capacity development programs promote the development of Philippine human resources, particularly in the public sector, while cultural programs provide opportunities for the youth of both countries to learn about each other’s culture fostering friendships on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.

The Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA) is the Philippines’ first and only bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Philippines wishes to maximize the opportunity to improve the Agreement and mutually reap its economic benefits. I hope that our two governments would continue exploring both short-term and long-term solutions to help Filipino healthcare workers to be accepted by Japanese healthcare institutions.

On maritime security, the Japanese government has been assisting the Philippines in strengthening the capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard through human resource development and augmentation of much needed communications system equipment for maritime safety. The acquisition of multi-role response vessels is undergoing serious consideration. There is also regular exchange of views and dialogue between officials of the two countries on maritime and ocean affairs.

I thanked the Foreign Minister for Japan’s assistance in the Mindanao peace process. Since 2006, the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) contributed to the peace process through socio-economic infrastructure projects amounting to PhP 5.5 billion, Japan also participates in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in rehabilitation efforts, humanitarian assistance and in monitoring the ceasefire and in the International Contact Group (ICG) as an observer in the peace talks. Japan is the only country that is a member of both IMT and ICG in the Mindanao peace process.

SFA FM 4

I expressed the Philippine government’s appreciation to the Japanese government and people for their timely and substantial assistance to those affected by Typhoon Pablo. The Japanese government provided emergency relief goods worth approximately PhP 21 million and extended emergency grant aid amounting to PhP 171 million for a response action plan for recovery through various UN agencies. Japanese local governments, private corporations, and non-profit organizations have also extended cash donations and pledges amounting to PhP 11.5 million.

I look forward to meet Foreign Minister Kishida again in the near future and to closely work together in enhancing the strategic partnership between our two countries.

Thank you. END

 

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Press Statement of H.E. Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister of Japan

Japan ForMinI am pleased to come to the Philippines as my first country to visit after assuming the post of Foreign Minister. I am grateful to Secretary Del Rosario for his warm hospitality.

As the strategic environment in the region is changing, it is necessary for us as Foreign Ministers to share recognition of the situation, enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries, and cooperate towards shaping peaceful and prosperous Asia- Pacific region. In today’s meeting, we agreed on this point.

On the economic front, we agreed to advance cooperation in expanding trade and investment by improvement of business environment, improving infrastructure in the Philippines through ODA, accepting Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japan.

I conveyed Japanese Government’s decision to extend yen loans to 2 projects:

   • Project on extension of LRT1&2

   • Project on construction of a new airport in Bohol

On the political and security front, we agreed on strengthening policy dialogue, enhancing maritime cooperation and other measures.

Regarding Mindanao Peace Process, I welcomed the signing of the Framework Agreement, and we confirmed Japan’s willingness to provide as much support as it can towards achieving peace. In this connection, I announced that the Japanese Government is considering new assistance projects in the field of human resource development and community development in the build-up of the Bangsamoro Government.

In the working lunch with Secretary Del Rosario later on, I would like to discuss regional issues including how to deal with nuclear and missile development by North Korea and the importance of resolving the abduction issue.

We agreed to cooperate closely in regional frameworks. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN friendship and cooperation. We agreed to reflect upon the past 40 years of cooperation in order to promote concrete cooperation in the enhancement of ASEAN connectivity, disaster management, youth exchange and other fields, so as to proactively support ASEAN community building by 2015. END