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PBBM hails outgoing Japan envoy’s role in improved PH-Japan ties

MANILA: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday hailed outgoing Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa’s contributions to improving cooperation between the Philippines and Japan on defense and security, trade and investment, and infrastructure development.

During Koshikawa’s farewell call at Malacañan Palace in Manila, Marcos recognized the two nations’ enhanced relations under the outgoing Japanese envoy’s tenure in the Philippines.

The President also thanked Koshikawa for his vital role in Japan’s initiatives to provide assistance to the Philippines for the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

‘It used to be just economic and trade, but in terms of security and defense, also that, and I’m glad that you mentioned the assistance that the Japanese, that Japan, rather, has given to the BARMM. It has been very critical because as the elections come, it will be the first parliamentary election,’ he said, as quoted by the Presidential Communications
Office (PCO).

‘On the security side, much has been achieved. We are now talking about the cooperation between the United States (US), Japan, and the Philippines, and I think that’s proceeding very well.”

Marcos also emphasized Japan’s contributions to developing the Philippines’ agriculture sector, citing the coordination and opening of the lines of communication with Japanese experts to help Filipinos learn new things.

Koshikawa, meanwhile, expressed confidence that he is leaving his diplomatic post with Japan and the Philippines entering a new phase in their relations.

‘Furthermore, maintaining a maritime order based on the rule of law is the most important common objectives of most countries,’ he said.

‘Japan will continue to support (the) Mindanao peace process, in particular, in the election scheduled next year. In this context, I think, the Japanese government is ready to consider the assistance necessary for the implementation of the election laws.’

Koshikawa said Japan would also continue to sup
port infrastructure projects under the Marcos administration’s Build, Better, More Program, including the Metro Manila Subway Project, North-South Commuter Railway Project, and the Davao Bypass Construction Project.

Koshikawa’s term will end on March 5 and he will be replaced by Endo Kazuya.

Under Koshikawa’s watch, the Philippines and Japan have further deepened their defense and security cooperation through the existing dialogue mechanisms and witnessed the conclusion of the Official Security Assistance (OSA) through brand new Coastal Radar Systems.

The two nations have also commenced negotiations on the Reciprocal Access Agreement and are expecting the conclusion of negotiations soon.

They have also maintained a robust Strategic Partnership and witnessed laying down the groundwork for trilateral cooperation with the US.

Japan is also a generous partner of the administration’s Build, Better, More Program and an ardent supporter in the quest for peace and economic development in Mindanao.

The Philippin
es and Japan celebrated 67 years of relations on July 23, 2022, and 11 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership since 2011.