‘Burning torch of amity between our peoples’

(Remarks of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. on the visit to Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku with H.E. Taro Kono, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on February 10, 2019 at Davao City.)

Your Excellency Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Ms. Ines Yamanouchi Mallari, school president, school administrators, faculty and staff, dear students,

Ladies and gentlemen:

O-ha-you go-zai-ma-su!

Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s a pleasure seeing young students—filled with hope, energy and enthusiasm—learning Japanese and committed to the promotion of mutual understanding between the Philippines and Japan, and faith in the future of our country and the prospects of our relations with Japan.

Davao is a city that figures prominently in the history of the bonds of friendship and economic interaction between the Filipino and Japanese peoples.

Mindanao International College, the number one Japanese language college in the Philippines, carries the bright burning torch of amity between our peoples. Not only does this institution equip you with knowledge and skills to be competitive in today’s world; it instils you with a rich and unique sense of patriotism and heritage, grounded on your Philippine identity, and enriched by an awareness of your links to Japan if not your Japanese roots.

The skills you gain will be vital to our continuing engagement with Japan, our most important partner and one that ranks among the world’s leading economies. You must parlay the skills and perspectives acquired here and turn them not only to professional advantage but to enriching yourselves by connecting with Japanese culture, which is one of the pinnacles of civilization. Read Murasaki’s Genji and Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. In Heian Japan, the people spoke in verse.

It is a great honor and privilege to be standing here with you, educators, administrators and students alike. By your talents and commitment, you shore up the foundations of a more prosperous Philippines and a strengthened Strategic Partnership with Japan.

Do—mo   ari—ga—tou   go—zai—ma—su.


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