President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived in Japan on Saturday, December 18, 2023, for his second visit to the country this year, to join the Commemorative Summit on the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.
The summit, which will be held in Tokyo on Sunday, December 19, will celebrate the five decades of partnership between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, which began in 1973, when Marcos Jr.’s father, Ferdinand E. Marcos, was the Philippine president.
According to the summit’s special website, the ASEAN-Japan cooperation is “for peace, stability, development, and prosperity in the Asian region.”
“Japan considers that a more integrated ASEAN functioning as a hub of regional cooperation is important for the stability and prosperity of Japan, ASEAN, and all East Asia, therefore, it fully supports ASEAN’s efforts to enhance its connectivity,” the website said.
The summit’s official catchphrase is “Golden Friendship, Golden Opportunities,” which was coined by Marlon Villones Guerrero, a Filipino from Camarines Norte, who won a contest that drew 620 entries.
Marcos said the summit is an opportunity for the Philippines to reiterate its stand on various regional and global issues, such as the maritime disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea, the situation in Myanmar and North Korea, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact.
He will also attend a discussion on decarbonization, as Asian countries work together on achieving carbon neutrality.
“This last ASEAN-related summit for the year presents an opportunity to once again affirm the Philippines’ position on current international issues and advance Philippine interests,” Marcos said in his departure speech on Friday, December 17.
He also welcomed the conferment of Comprehensive Partner Status to Japan, which he called “ASEAN’s trusted and reliable partner in peace, economic development, and community-building for the past 50 years or so.”
Aside from the summit, Marcos will also hold bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who he met during his first visit to Japan in February, when he was newly elected as president.
The two leaders are expected to discuss ways to further deepen the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan, which is one of the country’s oldest and most reliable allies.
They will also witness the signing of several agreements on cooperation in various fields, such as health, education, agriculture, and disaster management.
Marcos will also engage in cultural and people-to-people exchanges during his visit to Japan.
He will visit the Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. He will also attend a luncheon hosted by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako at the Imperial Palace.
He will also meet with the Filipino community in Japan, which is estimated to number over 300,000, the third largest in Asia.
Marcos will return to the Philippines on Monday, December 20, after his three-day visit to Japan.
This is his 11th and possibly last international trip for the year, and 17th since taking office in mid-2022.