Japanese envoy to visit the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   January 3, 2020   •   361

Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi speaks during a joint press statement event with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (not pictured) after their meeting in Tokyo, Japan, 25 November 2019. EPA-EFE/BEHROUZ MEHRI / POOL

MANILA, Philippines – Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motegi Toshimitsu, is set to visit the Philippines from January 8 to 9 as a guest of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

During his official visit, Minister Motegi will have a bilateral meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin to discuss the advancement of the Philippine-Japan Strategic Partnership in terms of political dialogues, economic and infrastructure cooperation, defense and maritime security, as well as developments in the regional security landscape among others.

Likewise, the foreign ministers will discuss Japan’s support for Mindanao and the transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Minister Motegi will also pay a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his first visit to the Philippines after being appointed to the position in September 2019.

Aside from the Philippines, the foreign minister is also visiting other Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture to close all public elementary, junior high schools

UNTV News   •   February 26, 2020

The board of education in Japan’s northern Hokkaido prefecture will close all public elementary and junior high schools for a few days starting from Thursday (February 27).

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, has confirmed a total of 35 coronavirus cases — the highest number outside Tokyo.

A number of them have been discovered in people who have strong links to schools, including students, teachers, school bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. For some mothers whose children will now not be attending school on Thursday it was too little, too late.

Others thought that the decision wouldn’t necessarily make the children safer as it might expose them to other sources of the virus outside the school.

Hokkaido’s decision comes as pressure mounts on the Japanese government, as well as other governments around the world, to quell the rising number of those infected by the virus.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for sports and cultural events to be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks as the country battles to stem coronavirus contagion amid mounting concerns the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be canceled. As of mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Japan had close to 170 cases of infections from the flu-like coronavirus, separate from 691 reported from a cruise ship that was quarantined of Tokyo earlier this month. (Reuters Connect)

(Production: Jack Tarrant, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

DOH: Repatriated Filipinos from Japan cruise ship can still test positive for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) is still not dismissing the possibility that the repatriated Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship might still test positive for COVID-19.

The Health department said the 445 Filipino repatriates will undergo the 14-day quarantine period.

Health experts are still studying why some individuals tested positive for COVID-19 despite not showing any symptoms.

The DOH said the repatriating Filipinos underwent five screening assessments in Japan before they were taken to the quarantine facility in Capas, Tarlac.

Meanwhile, the DOH also clarified that the 10 Filipino crew members who recovered from COVID-19 are not among the repatriated Filipinos. However, when they return to the Philippines they will still undergo the quarantine process.

There are currently 101 patients under investigation for COVID-19 in the country.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

850 people infected with coronavirus in Japan

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

Japan confirmed ten new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Monday, driving the number of infected patients up to 850.

Of the ten infected, four were in Hokkaido and one of them a teacher. Thus the local authorities decided to suspend classes of the school where the teacher works from Tuesday to March 6.

The total confirmed cases in Tokyo Prefecture reached 32, including three new confirmed cases on Monday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Monday that a staff member of the Ministry and a quarantine officer who worked at the cruise ship got infected.

So far, six civil servants, two quarantine officers, three staff members of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and a staffer of the Cabinet Secretariat, who worked on Diamond Princess cruise ship have been infected with the disease.

Japanese experts on Monday issued a statement saying the coming one to two weeks will be a critical time for the disease to spread rapidly or subside.

The statement also says confirmed cases without identified infection sources have emerged in several places, implying that the epidemic may speed up spreading and asks the people to avoid gathering. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)

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