Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide paid tribute to the “strong bond” between Japan and the Philippines on the occasion of the two country’s 65th anniversary of friendship and the 10th anniversary of strategic partnership.
In a video message released on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, the Japanese leader the role Japan has played in supporting the Philippines in its development efforts as well as the continued cooperation between the two sides in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan has provided the Philippines with Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) loans, vaccines, and medical equipment to help the Philippines in its COVID-19 response.
“Our countries cooperate with each other at various levels and support each other in a wide range of fields. The bond between us has never been this strong,” Suga said.
As a huge supporter of the “Build, Build, Build” program, the Prime Minister stressed that Japan has been a reliable partner of the Philippines through public and private sector engagement.
Among the major undertakings of such partnership is the Metro Manila Subway Project, the country’s first-ever subway line that will soon serve many Filipinos.
The Japanese Prime Minister also announced that his country has successfully fulfilled its 2017 five-year commitment to public and private financing of one trillion yen (approx. P476 billion) to support the Philippines.
In the nearly three-minute video message, Suga likewise touched on the legacy of Japan’s engagement in peace-building effort in Mindanao. He reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to reinforce its support in ways commensurate with the progress of the peace process.
Suga assured that being a long-time partner of the Philippines in promoting lasting peace and development in Mindanao, Japan will continue to do so in the years beyond.
With regards to the shared values of the two countries as maritime nations and the realization of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, Suga assured that Japan will continue to proactively advance cooperation with the Philippines, which includes collaboration on the enhancement of maritime law enforcement capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard, and its activities in the Sulu and Celebes Seas and their surrounding seas.
“Our strategic partnership is founded on shared values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, and has entered its ‘golden age’,” Suga said.