PHL-Japan partnership ‘stands test of time’

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Under the Reiwa Era, the Philippine-Japan engagement is seen to increase. Manifested in the milestones it achieved in the past few years, Japanese Ambassador to Manila Koji Haneda said the two countries’ partnership proved it is one that “stands the test of time”.

“The 30 years of the Heisei Era brought about Golden Strategic Partnership between Japan and the Philippines. In the new era of Reiwa, we will engage in our best efforts to further promote stronger ties with the people of the Philippines,” he said in the latest issue of Japan Bulletin, a publication produced by the Japanese Embassy in Manila.

The commitment was echoed during the celebration of Emperor Naruhito’s birthday in a reception in Makati on Thursday.

“Japan’s keen support to the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program remains on top of our priority. We cannot wait for our joint efforts to come to fruition in projects like the Metro Manila Subway, North-South Commuter Railway, and MRT-3 rehab which will help mitigate congestion,” he said.

The Metro Manila Subway, to be equipped with Japanese technologies including flood damage control measures and seismic design, will stretch about 30 kilometers, connecting major business districts from Quezon City to Taguig City. The subway’s partial operation is targeted by mid-2022 and full operation in 2025.

Similarly, Tokyo’s commitment to the Mindanao Peace Process stays.

“The more progress we see in the peace process, the more we will strengthen our assistance in all of Mindanao,” Haneda stressed.

Japan has contributed a total of USD463 million to peace and development in the region, according to the Embassy.

During the plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in January 2019, Tokyo sent its monitoring mission led by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Norikazu Suzuki.

In February 2019, former Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono also reaffirmed Japan’s support to the capacity building of Bangsamoro Transition Authority, as well as the normalization and the socio-economic development in the region.

On security cooperation, Haneda shared that the patrol vessels, high-speed boats and naval aircraft from Japan have already brought “tangible results” in maintaining peace and order on Philippine waters.

Last year, the Japan Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard jointly held multiple exercises in Zamboanga and Davao, where 44-meter class PCG patrol vessels, procured through Japanese official development assistance (ODA) loan, participated.

“Ours is a partnership that stands the test of time. It remains steadfast through the changing of seasons; it rises above time. Our friendship is the kind that translates into actual commitments in a variety of forms,” Haneda said.

The ascension of Emperor Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019 marked the start of the Reiwa Era, which denotes “beautiful harmony”. The period succeeded the Heisei Era under former Emperor Akihito.

“The friendship between Japan and the Philippines has continued to prosper throughout the years. I am convinced that an everlasting and beautiful harmony will continue to flourish in both our countries as we work together with one accord,” Haneda said. PNA.GOV.PH