Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Enrique A. Manalo
The mature bilateral relations and Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Japan continue to flourish and expand to encompass new and emerging areas of cooperation in response to emerging challenges and opportunities, as well as the current geopolitical trends.
Recent high-level engagements between the two countries highlighted the great momentum in the overall bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Japan. During the Official Visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to Japan in February 2023, he said and I quote:
“Japan is a close neighbor, like-minded and future-oriented like us in many ways, and a most reliable partner in times of both crises and of prosperity.”
As the first nation which signed a bilateral free trade agreement with the Philippines through the PH-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, economic and investment engagements continue to intensify. Japan maintains its status as the Philippines’ major bilateral trade and official development partner, with activities aligned with the economic and development priorities of the Philippines.
Most recently, Japan was one of the first two countries that immediately lent assistance in managing the oil spill in the Philippine Island of Mindoro that impacted the livelihood and safety of nearly fifty thousand people in more than 70 coastal communities.
Amidst the prevailing environment marked by the prominence of geopolitical competition, Japan has been our invaluable partner in the fields of defense, security, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR). Both countries also adhere to the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and the security of vital sea lines of communication.
The wide-ranging cooperation between Japan and the Philippines reflects the mature partnership of the two neighboring maritime nations in the past 67 years.
Whilst every now and then, current and future challenges and transformations may make it seem that the relationship is treading on unfamiliar ground, the Philippines and Japan can always draw on the strength of our enduring values underpinning our Strategic partnership, and thus, chart a solid course towards mutual benefit, peace, and prosperity for our peoples in the years and decades to come.
Building on our common values, particularly democracy and respect for the rule of law, the relations between the Philippines and Japan will continue its positive trajectory in the years ahead.