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Friday, April 12, 2024

PBBM commends departing Japan envoy for enhancing PH-Japan relations

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. praised the outgoing Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, for his efforts in strengthening cooperation between the two nations in defense and security, trade and investment, and infrastructure development.

During Koshikawa’s farewell visit to Malacañan Palace in Manila, Marcos acknowledged the advancements made in bilateral relations under the ambassador’s tenure.

The President also expressed gratitude to Koshikawa for Japan’s assistance in the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“It used to be solely economic and trade-related, but now we have also seen advancements in security and defense cooperation. I appreciate Japan’s assistance to BARMM, particularly as we approach the first parliamentary elections,” Marcos remarked, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

He further highlighted the progress made in security cooperation, including discussions involving the United States (US), Japan, and the Philippines.

Marcos also emphasized Japan’s contributions to developing the Philippines’ agriculture sector, citing the coordination and opening of the lines of communication with Japanese experts to help Filipinos learn new things.

Koshikawa, meanwhile, expressed confidence that he is leaving his diplomatic post with Japan and the Philippines entering a new phase in their relations.

“Furthermore, maintaining a maritime order based on the rule of law is the most important common objectives of most countries,” he said.

“Japan will continue to support (the) Mindanao peace process, in particular, in the election scheduled next year. In this context, I think, the Japanese government is ready to consider the assistance necessary for the implementation of the election laws.”

Koshikawa said Japan would also continue to support infrastructure projects under the Marcos administration’s Build, Better, More Program, including the Metro Manila Subway Project, North-South Commuter Railway Project, and the Davao Bypass Construction Project.

Koshikawa’s term will end on March 5 and he will be replaced by Endo Kazuya.

Under Koshikawa’s watch, the Philippines and Japan have further deepened their defense and security cooperation through the existing dialogue mechanisms and witnessed the conclusion of the Official Security Assistance (OSA) through brand new Coastal Radar Systems.

The two nations have also commenced negotiations on the Reciprocal Access Agreement and are expecting the conclusion of negotiations soon.

They have also maintained a robust Strategic Partnership and witnessed laying down the groundwork for trilateral cooperation with the US.

Japan is also a generous partner of the administration’s Build, Better, More Program and an ardent supporter in the quest for peace and economic development in Mindanao.

The Philippines and Japan celebrated 67 years of relations on July 23, 2022, and 11 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership since 2011. (PNA)

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