Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City
November 4, 2023
“The Philippines, with the second largest population among ASEAN countries and more than 300,000 citizens living in Japan, is an irreplaceable partner for Japan. I am honored to have the opportunity to be the first Japanese Prime Minister to speak here at the Congress of the Philippines,” remarks Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan as he addresses the Special Joint Session of the 19th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on November 4, 2023.
The Prime Minister highlights Japan’s continued cooperation with the Philippines, noting specifically its plans to realize a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) that underlies its “determination to lead the international community toward cooperation rather than division and confrontation, and to defend ‘freedom’ and ‘rule of law’ at all costs.”
Among the pillars of the new FOIP Plan is the commitment to ‘extend efforts for security and safe use of the sea to the air.’ To this end, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida shares that Japan has provided 12 ships to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to enhance the country’s maritime security capability.
During his meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. yesterday at the Malacañan Palace, the Japanese leader highlights that Japan has agreed to provide coastal surveillance radars to the Philippine Navy (PN) as the first cooperation project in the world under its newly established Official Security Assistance (OSA) this year.
Apart from security and defense cooperation, Prime Minister Kishida also notes other areas of partnerships with the Philippines, including economy and investment, and cooperation on global issues, among others.
“The relationship between Japan and the Philippines has made great strides over the past half century. I believe that people-to-people connection is the bedrock of this relationship… I will continue to do my utmost to ensure that the strong friendship between Japan and the Philippines will last and further develop in the future,” he ended in his message.
The scheduled address of the Japanese Prime Minister takes place upon the invitation of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri during the Philippine Senate delegation’s visit to Tokyo, Japan in April this year.
Senate President Zubiri expresses gratitude to Prime Minister Kishida for accepting the invitation, stating that his address today opens a path towards an even more robust and dynamic relationship between the Philippines and Japan, grounded in the common pursuit of peace and progress within the two countries and throughout the region.
On behalf of the House of Representatives, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez likewise conveys his heartfelt appreciation to the Japanese Prime Minister, stating further that his remarks at the Congress fortifies the bridge between the Philippines and Japan.
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