Press Release
May 5, 2014

Drilon, Japanese parliamentarians discuss bilateral ties

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon receives today a delegation from the National Diet of Japan led by Honorable Kenji Kosaka, President of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship League (JPPFL) and Secretary-General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party at the Japanese House of Councillors.

They are in Manila on a five-day visit and are scheduled to meet the President, Benigno Aquino III, and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., of the House of Representatives.

The delegation will turn over to Drilon the government of Japan's additional donation to the Philippines of previously-used fire trucks and ambulance units, intended primarily for the municipalities badly hit by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in Central Visayas.

Drilon, President of the Philippines-Japan Parliamentarians Association (PJPA), expressed the gratitude of the Filipino people for the immediate and overwhelming assistance of the Japanese government in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

Drilon and Kosaka will hold a joint meeting at the Diamond Hotel today to discuss the bilateral relations of the Philippines and Japan.

Drilon said he will discuss the plan of Japan to review the possibility of visa-free privileges to Filipinos.

On labor relations, Drilon will raise the issue regarding the Japanese immigration policies, which have made it difficult for Filipino nurses and careworkers to work in Japan, due largely to the stringent language proficiency requirement.

"There is a need to review these policies and find creative solutions in order to liberalize the entry of our highly competent nurses and caregivers," said Drilon.

Other matters expected to be discussed at the meeting include the continued strengthening of Philippines-Japan bilateral relations and greater Official Development Assistance (ODA) for infrastructure development projects.

Also joining the Senate President at the meeting are fellow PJPA members Senators Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino IV, Pia Cayetano, Aquilino Koko Pimentel III and Congressman Romeo Acop, PJPA Treasurer.

Other members of the Japanese delegation include the Honorable Takeshi Maeda, JPPFL Vice President and Member of the Japanese House of Councillors, Honorable Yukio Ubukata, JPPFL Chief Secretary and Member of the Japanese House of Representatives, and Honorable Taku Otsuka, JPPFL Secretary-General and Member of the Japanese House of Representatives.

The PJPA was formed in 1988 upon the initiative of then Senate President Jovito Salonga as well as Senator Edgardo Angara who served as its first President. The PJPA includes members from both the Senate and House of Representatives and is the main forum where the Philippine Congress conducts discussions with the Japanese Diet on matters of mutual interest and areas of mutual cooperation. The PJPA is one of the 28 parliamentary friendship associations in the Philippine Senate, and is considered as one of its most active.

Its counterpart organization, the JPPFL, is a parliamentary friendship association composed of members of the Japanese Diet. It was established in 1986 by the Honorable Zentaro Kosaka, father of current JPPFL President Kenji Kosaka, in time for the official visit to Japan of then President Corazon C. Aquino. Since then, the JPPFL has helped in maintaining and sustaining Japanese development and technical assistance to the Philippines.

Through the years, the annual bilateral meetings between the PJPA and the JPPFL have not only promoted good relations between Filipino and Japanese parliamentarians, but have also helped sustain the robust bilateral ties and strategic partnership between the two countries. (Senate Office for International Relations and Protocol)

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