Duterte sets 3rd trip to Japan this month

Rodrigo Duterte

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to embark on a third official visit to Japan later this month.

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday said that the President’s upcoming trip was upon the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Panelo hopes the visit will strengthen trade relations between Manila and Tokyo as deals are expected to be signed. He did not give details of the possible agreements.

Reports said the President was invited to speak at the International Conference on The Future of Asia, a gathering of political, economic and academic leaders from the Asia-Pacific region, on May 30 and 31.

In April, Duterte went to Beijing for the Second Belt and Road Forum and meetings with the leaders of China, a regional rival of Japan.

Abe has been to the Philippines several times for state and working visits, the last of which took place in November 2017 when he attended the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and other meetings in line with Japan’s role as one of the dialogue partners of the 10-nation bloc.

In a visit to the Philippines in January 2017, Abe pledged a total of ¥1 trillion worth of official development assistance and private sector investments to create business opportunities in the Philippines over the next five years.

Duterte first visited Japan as president in October 2016. He returned the following year which resulted in the signing of investment pledges worth $6 billion.

The President also met with Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko.