Press Release
April 4, 2023

Zubiri: PH and Japan are Strategic Partners

On Tuesday, a delegation of Philippine senators led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri met with their counterparts in the Japanese Diet, particularly members of the Japan Philippine Parliamentarians Friendship League (JPPFL), headed by Chairman Moriyama Hiroshi.

During the meeting, Zubiri, Moriyama, and their colleagues discussed Japanese-Philippine bilateral relations, especially in the areas of trade and industry, tourism, disaster management, and defense and security.

Indeed, Zubiri thanked Japan for dispatching vital assistance in response to the recent oil spill in Oriental Mindoro. Japan's Disaster Relief Expert Team, including oil control experts from the Japan Coast Guard, were among the first responders in the wake of the spill.

Zubiri also thanked Japan for extending assistance to the Philippines in the form of various loans and grants. In particular, Zubiri noted Japan's delivery of air surveillance radar systems to the Department of National Defense, with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force also holding trainings for the Philippine Air Force in handling and operating said systems.

"Japan's support has been a major boost to our defense systems and practices," Zubiri said. "And I am hopeful that we can move forward with the Japan-Philippines Reciprocal Access Agreement as well, as Japan has done with the United Kingdom and Australia."

In February, Zubiri voiced his support for the Philippine and Japanese governments to forge a Visiting Forces Agreement.

For his part, Moriyama emphasized that the Japanese government intends to develop its defense cooperation efforts further, with the full support of the parliament

"We are here to show that the Philippines and Japan are more than just friends," Zubiri said, referring to the Philippine delegation's visit to Tokyo. "We are strategic partners."

"We are brought together by shared values and ideals, and we deal with shared problems as well. As such, it is incredibly important that we strengthen our cooperation, toward the overall success of our countries and of the region."

Toward this end, Zubiri extended an invitation for the Japanese parliament to send a delegation to the Philippines, for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, to be hosted by the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives in November.

Zubiri was joined at the meeting by Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Imee Marcos, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Win Gatchalian, Sen. Grace Poe, Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Mark Villar, and Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Mylene Garcia-Albano.

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