Filipinos cheer Duterte as he arrives in Japan
TOKYO - President Rodrigo Duterte sought support to the Filipino community here on his policies back home as he expressed the Philippine "attachment" with Japan.
Duterte arrived here Tuesday afternoon, kicking off his three-day official visit on the invitation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"Japan is very attached to us. They are really so very kind," he told 1, 400 members of the Filipino community and members of the Philippine business delegation in Palace Hotel here.
Many Filipinos who failed to enter the venue waited outside or at the hotel lobby to get a glimpse of Duterte.
Duterte noted Japan has the "biggest assistance" to the Philippines, amounting to about $6 billion. He also said he is "more comfortable" in Japan and China.
Duterte tried to solicit the support of the Filipinos here regarding the United States "bullying" on him and the Philippines.
"I don't have anyone to whom I can tell this. Where am I going to complain, but to you," he told the cheering Filipinos.
Duterte reiterated that he could not allow other countries to "chastise" or "reprimand" him because it means disrespecting not only him but the entire Filipinos.
Duterte got mad with the US and the European Union after they raised concern over the increasing number of drug suspects killed in his administration's war against illegal drugs.
He said even some international organizations have been threatening him that he would be put in jail and the foreign countries would cut aid.
"If you have the evidence, go ahead," he said, reiterating that he is ready to "rot" in jail.
Tina Hazama, 47, said Duterte's speech was very interesting.
She expressed admiration for the President for not reading his speech and "for speaking from the heart."
Hazama, from Setagaya, is married to a Japanese and has been in Japan for 22 years.
Bonifacio Masalihit, 37, hailed Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.
"He's a true (person) and I can see his heart," he said, admitting that back in the Philippines, he has a 16-year old son who became a drug user.
Because of Duterte's war on narcotics, he said his son is not using the illegal drugs anymore.
Masalihit, who has a new wife here, also a Filipino, has been working in a factory for 12 years. He came from Tochigi-Ken. Celerina Monte/DMS