Duterte off to Japan to meet Abe, attend leadership forum

Robie de Guzman   •   May 28, 2019   •   1898

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte bids farewell to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea before boarding a plane bound for Japan at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on May 28, 2019. The President is set to participate in the 25th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo. (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is off to Tokyo on Tuesday to attend a leadership forum, and meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and key business players.

Duterte and some members of his cabinet left the country around 4:52 p.m. at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. Duterte and his delegates are expected to arrive in Tokyo late Tuesday evening.

This will be Duterte’s third visit to Japan since becoming president in 2016.

Malacañang said in a statement that during the working visit, Duterte will attend and deliver a keynote address at the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia.

The forum, organized by Nikkei Inc., is an annual gathering of political, economic and academic leaders from the Asia Pacific region to exchange views on regional issues.

“The President’s address will highlight Philippine development goals and accomplishments, foreign policy thrusts, and insights on regional and global developments,” the Palace said in a statement.

The annual gathering, regarded as one of Asia’s top foreign policy and economic fora, also includes leaders of Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh in its lineup of speakers.

After the conference, Duterte will meet with Abe to discuss cooperation in infrastructure development, trade and investments, agriculture, labor, defense, maritime security and domain awareness.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre earlier told media that Duterte and Abe will likely discuss the issue on South China Sea as the peace and stability in the region is a mutual concern for the two leaders.

The Philippines and China have been locked in a dispute over territories in the South China Sea while Japan has a separate issue with China over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu) in the East China Sea.

READ: Duterte to meet with Japan’s Abe during trip to Tokyo next week

Duterte and Abe are also expected to tackle people-to-people exchanges, and the pursuit of just and lasting peace and progress in Mindanao, as well as review the progress of agreements made in previous meetings.

“The President will also take the opportunity to meet with key Japanese industry and tourism leaders at a business forum to encourage Japanese private sector investments in the country and to further heighten interest in the Philippines as a Japanese tourist destination of choice,” the Malacañang said.

During the visit, Duterte is also expected to meet with the Filipino community in Japan to “personally convey his appreciation for their continuing sacrifice and contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.”

Duterte is set to return to the country on Saturday (June 1).

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

Japan’s PM Abe extends state of emergency until end of May

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday (May 4) he has decided to extend the country’s national state of emergency to the end of the month.

Abe will consider lifting the nationwide state of emergency without waiting for its May 31 expiration if expert advisors decide that is possible based on detailed analysis of regional infection trends, he said at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force.

He said his advisors said that Japan had not seen the explosive surge in infections seen in some countries overseas, but the number of new infection cases had not fallen enough and there were regions where the medical system was facing strains.

For the 13 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka that have been hardest hit, a target of reducing person-to-person contacts by 80% would remain in place, Abe said. Japan will move gradually to a framework that will combine prevention of the spread of infections with maintaining social and economic activities, he added. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai)

Japan PM officially declares state of emergency

UNTV News   •   April 7, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe | Image courtesy of Reuters Connect

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (April 7) declared a state of emergency to fight new coronavirus infections in major population centres and unveiled a stimulus package he described as among the world’s biggest to soften the economic blow.

The state of emergency, giving authorities more power to press people to stay at home and businesses to close, will last through May 6 and be imposed in the capital, Tokyo, and six other prefectures – accounting for about 44% of Japan’s population.

“The most important thing is to change people’s actions,” Abe said in televised comments made at a meeting of a government task force.

Abe will speak at a news conference later tonight to explain to the citizens what the emergency declaration means for the people to get consent from the public. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

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