Press Release
April 5, 2023

PH Senate Meets PM Kishida

On Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held an audience with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and the rest of the Senate delegation, as part of the delegation's official parliamentary visit to Tokyo, Japan.

Zubiri noted that the visit comes at an opportune time, right when "the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan is evolving to even higher levels, as we adapt to the heightened global security situation, particularly the continuing maritime tensions, in our region."

"On a daily basis, our Philippine Coast Guard records cases of harassment from foreign actors, which is depriving our country of its sovereign right to use its exclusive economic zone. That is why the Philippines is thankful for Japan's strong support of the 2016 Arbitration Ruling and for providing us modern ships and other equipment such as radars to monitor our skies and seas."

Along with Zubiri, the delegation is composed of 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. Lito Lapid and Sen. Mark Villar.

"With almost half of the Senate here with us, we hope to show to you the importance that we accord to our strategic partnership."

In February, Zubiri had also called on the Prime Minister, as part of the Philippine delegation headed by President Ferdinand Marcos.

Zubiri was happy to report to Kishida that right after that visit, the Senate has given its concurrence to the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, which is expected to strengthen the trade and industry exchanges between the Philippines and Japan.

It was also during that February visit that Zubiri raised the need to explore a Philippines-Japan Visiting Forces Agreement.

"This visit, particularly the briefing from the Ministry of Defense, has given us a clearer understanding of the current defense and security realities facing both our nations," he said.

"These meetings have also prompted us to act with greater urgency to support a possible Philippines-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement that will boost the inter-operability of our armed forces."

In light of Kishida's plans to make an official visit to the Philippines, Zubiri also extended an invitation for him to address the Senate and the House of Representatives in a joint session.

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