Duterte says Japan trip "most productive, engaging"
President Rodrigo Duterte said that his two-day visit to Japan was "most productive and engaging."
Duterte, who returned to the country via Davao airport on Tuesday night, said he discussed with his "good friend," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "concrete, time-bound and specific ways to further intensifying bilateral cooperation."
He cited Abe's commitment to support the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.
"Prime Minister Abe committed to give flesh through Japan’s special assistance program. I am committed to work closely with him to ensure that projects proceed soonest and it will be a Done, Done, Done," Duterte said.
During their bilateral meeting, the two leaders agreed on the priority sectors and some of the projects, which Japan would be funding under its one trillion yen committed financial aid for the Philippines in the next five years.
Duterte said the Philippines and Japan will also intensify defense and security cooperation to combat terrorism, violent extremism, and transnational crimes.
"We will strive to make our waters free and open to our peoples so that we can enjoy all our maritime natural resources," he said.
Duterte also expressed gratitude to Japan for reaffirming its commitment to the Philippines' pursuit with just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
"They will be our partner once again in rebuilding Marawi as the center of moderation and tolerance," he said.
The President also said he was humbled by the singular honor of meeting Emperor Akihito before his return to the Philippines.
"I conveyed to His Majesty our nation’s and people’s deep appreciation, gratitude for Japan’s continuing friendship and support to the Philippines’ peace and development goals," he said.
Asked of what he discussed with the Emperor during the press conference after his arrival speech, Duterte said, "the Emperor limits himself to social functions. We do not talk about policy of governments and even in matters of governmental concern on both sides."
"He is just limiting himself to the Imperial duties and rule the nation as sovereign head. May be I can say things only until there."
The President said he had been to many places and palaces of great leaders and people.
But meeting the Emperor and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace, their official residence, was his first time that "I've seen the simplest of palaces."
"Trees surround the Palace but it’s just a small place. And even his, his living room, receiving room, you wouldn’t see any picture. It’s really a bland thing actually. And he lives very simply...it's like really befitting the title of Majesty."
Duterte also said that during his trip to Japan, he met with industry leaders in Tokyo who signed business agreements valued at $6 billion.
"This is more than three times the amount of sealed businesses agreements during my first visit to Japan in 2016," he said.
Duterte first visited Japan in October last year.
He said he looks forward to welcoming Abe during the Philippine hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits in November. Celerina Monte/DMS