MANILA, Philippines – Japan remains “a friend closer than a brother” in spite of the Philippines pivot to its non-traditional allies, Malacañang stated. Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s successful bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his four-day working visit in Japan.
Duterte and Abe met at the Prime Minister’s Office in the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo for a bilateral meeting on May 31.
Abe, who considers Duterte his “special friend,” congratulated the President on his administration’s “overwhelming victory in the midterm elections.”
Abe also stretched his birth anniversary greeting and best wishes to the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte -Carpio, whose birthday fell on the day of their meeting.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “Prime Minister Abe likewise mentioned that he looked forward to a fruitful exchange of views with the President on various issues of mutual concern and interest, including assistance on the Mindanao peace process and infrastructure development in the Philippines.”
During his meeting with Abe, Panelo stated Duterte “expressed his sympathy over the mass stabbing incident in Kawasaki and that our country stood with Japan as it endeavors to bring justice to the victims.”
“The President likewise conveyed the best wishes of the Filipino people to Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the throne, adding that it would be a great honor for our country to receive Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in the Philippines in the future,” Panelo added.
The Palace official noted that Duterte thanked Abe for congratulating his administration on the results of the May 13 midterm elections.
Panelo added “the President pointed out that the success and the peaceful conduct of the elections strengthened our country’s democracy, hence the Philippine government is now well-positioned to accelerate the implementation of our national development priorities.”
“‘As a friend closer than a brother,’ the President stressed that Japan is a valued ally for peace, development and the rule of law in a rapidly evolving region. The Chief Executive emphasized that Philippines-Japan relations has an exemplary partnership built on shared values fostered over the years by mutual trust and respect,” he concluded.