PH Embassy in Japan urges Filipinos to brace for Typhoon Hagibis

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019   •   861

The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo has urged Filipinos in Japan to prepare for the onslaught of typhoon Hagibis.

In an advisory posted on Facebook Thursday, the Philippine Embassy warned Filipinos that the effects of the strong typhoon may be felt in Ogasawara Islands beginning Thursday.

Citing reports from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Embassy said the storm may likely bring surges, heavy rainfall and flooding in areas that are on Hagibis’ track, including Chiba Prefecture.

The Narita Airport is located in Chiba Prefecture, prompting airline companies Japan Airlines and ANA to announce flight cancellations for October 11.

The Embassy said that train services in the Greater Tokyo area may also be suspended in the following days if Hagibis continues to move closer to the metropolitan area.

For safety and security, Filipinos are urged to stay indoors to avoid being stranded.

It also advised Filipinos to monitor weather updates from Japanese authorities.

South China Sea issue related to regional peace and stability; ‘a concern for all’ – Japan

Marje Pelayo   •   March 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Embassy of Japan in Manila on Tuesday (March 23) reacted to the current situation in the South China Sea (SCS) following a statement from the United States expressing its concern over the presence of some 200 Chinese vessels at the Julian Felipe Reef in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In a statement on Twitter, Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko said the matter is ‘directly related to peace and stability’ and therefore ‘a concern for all’ in the region.

“The South China Sea issues are directly related to peace and stability and a concern for all. Japan strongly opposes any action that heightens tensions,” Kazuhiko said.

“We support the enforcement of rule of law in the sea and work with the international community to protect the free, open, and peaceful seas,” he added.

On Monday (March 22), the Department of National Defense (DND) through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed that about 200 vessels, believed to be Chinese militia, have been sighted at Julian Felipe Reef.

In response, the Chinese Embassy in Manila clarified in a statement that the vessels were actually fishing vessels taking shelter from rough seas. It also insisted that the area in question is part of China.

As the country’s defense ally, the United States said it stands with the Philippines as it expressed concern about the gathering of China’s maritime vessels near Julian Felipe Reef or Whitsun Reef.

In a follow up statement, the Embassy said “the United States is not a party to the South China Sea issue” and what it does is “fanning flames and provoking confrontation in the region will only serve the selfish interests of individual countries and undermine the regional peace and stability.”

The Julian Felipe Reef is a large shallow coral reef at the northeast of Pagkakaisa Banks and Reefs or Union Reefs. It is located approximately 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza, Palawan.

Japan declares state of emergency for Tokyo as COVID-19 cases spike

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2021

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for the nation’s capital Tokyo and neighboring prefecture amid the new surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

Speaking before the press on Thursday (January 7), Prime Minister Suga said the declaration sends public warning amid rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases which is already hurting its economy.

Effective Friday (January 8), the state of emergency ends on February 7.

Test restrictions entails no punishment for violators but residents will simply be asked to avoid non-essential activities especially at night.

The Prime Minister appealed to the Japanese public especially to the young Japanese to help protect lives especially the most vulnerable particularly parents and grandparents.

He expects that situation will improve after one month.

As of this writing, Japan has a total of 269, 271 positive cases and 3,674 deaths as per latest global tally from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

PH, Japan reaffirm commitment to better economic ties

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the Philippines and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance economic partnership, which includes plans to expand Japanese investments in the country.

During a recent courtesy call on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, newly designated Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that Japanese companies are exploring ways of realigning their supply chains to other countries like the Philippines.

Koshikawa said the approval by the Senate of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill was welcomed by Japanese investors doing business in the Philippines.

The measure aims to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a net taxable income of P5 million and below to 20 percent, while other companies, including foreign firms, will pay a harmonized rate of 25 percent.

The current CIT, which is the region’s highest, is 30 percent.

Dominguez, for his part, said that aside from the CIT rate cut, CREATE will also allow the government to tailor fit incentives given to businesses so as to attract the kind of investors that it wants to invest in the Philippines.

The Finance chief also told the ambassador that the Philippines’ competitive edge in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) is its young working population, which complements Japan’s highly skilled labor force and makes the two countries ideal “demographic partners.”

During the meeting, Koshikawa also restated Japan’s continuing support for the Philippine government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, as well as its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Citing the signing in September between the two countries of the 50-billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan (PDSL) Phase 2, the Ambassador reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, 15 loan agreements totaling JPY679.296 billion (about P313.147 billion or US$6.443 billion) have been signed by Manila with Tokyo.

Before beginning his tour of duty in Manila, Ambassador Koshikawa was a senior official at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and had served as Japan’s Ambassador to Spain and Angola.

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