JAPAN’S envoy asserted that the recent official visit to his country of the Philippines’s Chief Executive reaffirmed their nations’ friendly ties, and charted their future course.
At the National Day Reception of the Japanese Emperor’s 63rd birthday on February 22, Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa underscored that the bilateral relations binding his country and the Philippines are poised to reach even greater heights, especially in the areas of economics, defense, people-to-people exchanges, linkages like the Metro Manila Subway and North-South Commuter Railway, as well as Coast Guard Cooperation, to name a few.
Koshikawa also noted the tourism sector’s post-Covid-19 revival and growth, as well as the vibrant exchanges in sports, as promising avenues for the two nations.
He has bullish prospects on two-way tourism between both countries, bolstered by at least a 50-percent return of incoming Japanese travelers.
“I am confident that we will swiftly close that gap, and even overtake… prepandemic numbers,” he noted. “The Philippines remains one of the [Japanese tourists’ favorite destinations because of] its spectacular natural wonders.”
The Japanese diplomat mentioned the successes of gymnast Carlos Yulo, golfer Yuka Saso, karateka Junna Tsukii, as well as the Japan B.League’s Filipino basketball players as prime examples. He also expressed optimism for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, which his country will cohost with the Philippines and Indonesia.
On a global perspective, he noted that “the world today is facing unprecedented challenges from the pandemic and geopolitical shifts. As His Majesty the Emperor said in his New Year’s message, global cooperation is vital now more than ever to address urgent issues and protect universal values that underpin peace, progress, and stability in the international community.”
“Considering the Philippines’s economic recovery and robust human capital, I believe it…will show top-class growth among Asian countries and attract more Japanese investors in the coming years,” the envoy said.
For his part, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. extended during the occasion his well wishes of “abundant happiness and blessings” to the Emperor, as the latter leads Japan to “continued prosperity and the promotion of peace.”
Marcos also noted that the Philippines was committed to maintaining the “positive trajectory” of its bilateral relations with Japan, and described the Asian superpower as a “friend, neighbor, and strategic partner.”
Vice President Sara Z. Duterte also participated in the festivities virtually, as she shared a special video message.
At the reception, 29 Japanese companies and organizations installed booths and kiosks to promote their products and services. With a report from Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA
Image credits: Embassy of Japan