Marcos departs for Tokyo to tackle vital PH foreign policy concerns

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has departed for Japan for a five-day official visit which he labeled as "essential" for the Philippines' foreign policy agenda.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos departs for Tokyo, Japan for a five-day official visit on Feb. 8, 2023. (Noel B. Pabalate)

Marcos left the country onboard PR001 on Wednesday noon, Feb. 8, with a goal to bring home investments in various areas such as agriculture, energy, infrastructure, defense and security, digital transformation, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance.

"My bilateral visit to Japan is essential and is part of a larger foreign policy agenda to forge closer political ties, stronger defense, and security cooperation, as well as lasting economic partnerships with major countries in the region amid a challenging global environment," Marcos said in his departure speech.

During his visit, he said that he will seek to further strengthen "the bonds of friendship with a close neighbor, like-minded and future-oriented like us in many ways, and a most reliable partner in times of both crises and prosperity. " He also intends to harness the positive trajectory of both countries' relationship in "all of our enriching engagements."

"This administration is keen on working closely with Japan in forging stability and dynamisms into our bilateral relations and bringing our strategic partnership to greater heights," he said.

The President further said that he will be cultivating collaboration in areas "where future synergies and complementary interests converge with those of Japan."

While in Japan, Marcos will meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to "take stock of our bilateral relations and regional cooperation in a broad range of engagements," from security and economic relations to Manila and Tokyo's continued commitment to mutual peace and prosperity.

The two leaders are also expected to sign key agreements in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, infrastructure, agriculture and digital cooperation.

He will also be given an Imperial Audience with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. He said he will also invite the Emperor and Empress to visit Manila.

Marcos will also hold meetings with Japan's business leaders to promote trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines where he will be joined by his economic team and key private sector representatives.

The President will also meet with the Filipino community in Japan before flying back to Manila.

Japan, the chief executive expressed, has been a major bilateral trade and official development partner of the Philippines, consistent in its commitment to uphold the same values aligned with the Philippines' economic and development priorities.

Japan is also the first country which signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines through the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).

This is the President's third foreign trip this year and ninth since he assumed the presidency.