VP Duterte set to fly to Japan for Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

Japan is a top trade and development partner of the Philippines.

That’s why Vice President Sara Duterte wanted to fly to Japan to personally attend the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next week.

VP Sara Duterte pays her respects to the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the official residence of Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa on July 11, 2022. (OVP photo)

The state funeral of Abe, Japan’s longest-serving leader, is set on Sept. 27 at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, with more than 190 foreign delegations with around 50 of these led by top-level officials or a total of about 6,000 guests are expected to attend, Japanese media said.

In a Facebook post, Duterte revealed that she will be going to Abe’s state funeral after Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa’s courtesy visit to her office in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday morning, Sept. 21.

“Inihayag ni Ambassador Koshikawa ang kanyang paunang pasasalamat sa aking nakatakdang pagbisita sa Japan sa susunod na linggo para sa state funeral ni yumaong Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Ambassador Koshikawa expressed his gratitude for my scheduled visit in Japan next week for the state funeral of the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe),” she wrote.

The Vice President said she told the ambassador about her intent to deliver letters of condolences from her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

She also thanked Japan for being the Philippines’ number one partner in development, investment, and trade from 2002 to 2021, and for being the “number one contributor” to her father’s “Build, Build, Build” program, which she said generated more than 6.5 million jobs for Filipinos from 2016 to 2020.

Duterte earlier remembered the slain prime minister for “his love and kindness for the Filipinos and Davao City.” Abe went to former president Duterte’s home in Davao City during a visit to the country in January 2017. He was the first head of state to visit the country during Duterte’s administration.

READ: VP Duterte condoles with Japan over Abe’s demise, condemns ‘senseless violence’

Abe, who served from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020, died in hospital on July 8, after being shot twice while giving a speech during a political event in Nara, central Japan.

His death shocked a nation not used to gun violence, and condolences poured from all over the world for Japan’s most influential political voice.