A total of seven economic and security bilateral agreements and documents will be signed during the working visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Japan next week, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Among those to be signed are the notes for the $3 billion infrastructure loan agreements to be later signed by the Department of Finance (DOF) for the North-South Commuter Railway and the North-South Commuter Railway Extension.
“During the visit, we anticipate the signing of seven key bilateral documents/agreements covering cooperation in infrastructure development, defense, agriculture and information and communications technology areas that are the President’s priority agenda,” DFA Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial said at a news conference in Malacañang on Wednesday.
He noted the pact for the defense will contain “umbrella terms of reference on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” while the accord on agriculture is expected to provide better market access for Filipino products in Japan.
Japan is the biggest bilateral source of active Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing concessional loans to finance important infrastructure and capacity-building projects, social safety net programs, education, agriculture and science and technology support and many other high impact programs.
Imperial said the visit of the President to Japan from February 8 to 12 would also translate to several investments deals.
“Commensurate with the strong economic ties between the two countries, a large business delegation will be joining the President’s trip. Roundtable and business meetings, business calls on the President and business seminar will be held on February 9 and 10. The President will also witness the signing of several business deals,” Imperial added.
As of Wednesday, Imperial said at least 150 have signed up for the business delegation of President Marcos.
The President will also hold a dialogue with officials of Japanese shipping companies and associations to pursue “advance partnerships” to help improve the country’s maritime education for seafarers.
“The President is devoting a lot of time in ensuring we are able to attract more interest from the Japanese investors and that we are able to sell more products for export to the Japanese markets,” Imperial said.
Japan is the country’s largest trading partner in 2021 and its third biggest export market.
During his visit in Japan, Marcos will have his second face-to-face meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio after they met at the United Nations General Assembly in the United States last September.
The Chief Executive and First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos are also set to be given an Imperial audience with their majesties Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
“The official working visit is expected to reaffirm the strong and vibrant relations between the two countries. It also seeks to maximize the full potential of Philippine-Japan Strategic Partnership in all its aspects and facilitate closer defense, security, political, economic, and people-to-people ties,” Imperial said.
Marcos will wrap up his visit in Japan with a meeting with the Filipino community in Tokyo.
IMPERIAL, however, said that the issue on the deportation of four Japanese nationals, one of whom is suspected to be “Luffy,” a notorious robbery ring leader in Japan, would not be tackled during the trip.
The Japanese embassy has already requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to deport the four suspects, who also have outstanding warrants in Japan.
“The Philippines will follow the timeline of deportation proceedings in accordance with Philippine laws,” Imperial said.
“We feel that this is totally unrelated to the visit of the President. This is a consular matter being handled by the DOJ and Japanese embassy here and our embassy in Japan with the Ministry of Justice of Japan in Tokyo,” he added.
He also noted the President is also unlikely to raise the issue of Filipino comfort women or girls, who suffered sexual abuses from the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War.
“The position of the Philippines on this issue is that compensation claims by former comfort women is considered to be already settled as far as the government is concerned. All the war-related claims are deemed to have been settled by our 1956 reparation agreements with Japan,” Imperial explained.
“However, the government will not prevent private claims should such action be pursued by victims or on their behalf,” he added.