By Roy Mabasa
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will undertake a two-day official visit to Manila next week to discuss the advancement of the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership and other regional security issues with his counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Motegi’s visit, his first since his appointment as Japan’s top diplomat last September 11, will be held from January 8 to 9 as a guest of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Aside from a bilateral meeting with Locsin, Motegi will pay a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.
Expected to dominate Motegi’s discussion with his counterpart are evolving issues related to Tokyo’s strategic partnership with Manila in terms of political dialogues, economic and infrastructure cooperation, defense and maritime security, and Japan’s support for Mindanao and the transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
According to the DFA, the Japanese official will also exchange views on developments in the regional security landscape.
Manila is part of Motegi’s four-country Southeast Asian swing that also includes visits in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
“The visit constitutes a further affirmation of the strengthened strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan, under which both countries continue to elevate and deepen their decades-long economic cooperation, together with their engagement on strategic security issues,” the DFA said.
Prior to his assumption as foreign minister under the fourth cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Motegi served as Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Minister in charge of Social Security Reform.
Born on October 7, 1955, Motegi was elected nine times at Japan’s House of Representatives representing the 5th District of Tochigi Prefecture under the aegis of the dominant Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
He graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in 1978 and completed his master’s degree at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1983.