Japan Foreign Minister to visit PHL

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THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday announced that Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will visit the Philippines from Feb. 9 to 11.

“On the invitation of Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., H.E. Taro Kono, Foreign Minister of Japan, will undertake an Official Visit to the Philippines from 9 to 11 February 2019,” the DFA said in a statement.

Just like the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last October, Mr. Kono’s activities will take place in Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, rather than in the nation’s capital.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also made an official visit to Davao City back in 2017.

The DFA said Mr. Kono will meet with Mr. Locsin in Davao City on Feb. 10 to hold bilateral discussions on the political, economic, and people-to-people engagements between the two countries, including Japan’s support for infrastructure development in Mindanao as well as the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Mr. Kono will also have a courtesy call with Mr. Duterte and will meet other Cabinet officials. He will also attend the inauguration of the Japanese Consulate in Davao City.

The signing of bilateral documents is also expected.

“The visit of Foreign Minister Kono is a testament to the strengthened strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan, and an affirmation of our longstanding bilateral friendship,” the DFA said in a statement.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, Japan remained the top provider of official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines as of September 2018. Its loans and grants totalled $5.98 billion to account for 41.2% of the Philippines’ total ODA.

Japan is also among the biggest sources of foreign investment to the Philippines with $183.51 million recorded last October as reported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. — Camille A. Aguinaldo