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Marcos on Tokyo meetings: Very specific, each has purpose

TOKYO — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday described his working visit to Japan as "very specific," indicating that every meeting he would have with the Japanese would have set objectives.

“Japan is very different from the places that we’ve been," Marcos said when asked what he expected from the trip.

“Very specific. May purpose ‘yung bawat meeting. Hindi yung general introduction of the Philippines to, like the EU (European Union), or other countries,” he added.

(Every meeting has a purpose. It's not a general introduction of the Philippines to like the EU or other countries.)

Marcos and the rest of the Philippine delegation arrived here at 5:35 p.m. local time. 

The President’s working visit is until February 12, which will include a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and an audience with Emperor Naruhito.

“So what we’re really having to do now is we’re going to have to… we’re finalizing some of the projects that, for example, were postponed because of the pandemic lockdowns,” Marcos said.

“And also now some new projects that are follow-on from kung ano ‘yung dati (from the previous ones),” he said.

Among the Philippine government’s big-ticket projects funded through official development assistance from Japan include the Metro Manila Subway Project, rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, Davao City Bypass Project, and the North-South Commuter Railway Project.

In a separate statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Japan is the Philippines’ largest provider of official development assistance (ODA), with committed loans and grants amounting to around $10.2 billion or 31.8% of the country’s total ODA portfolio as of December 2021.

The President also said that the Japan-Philippines relationship is “very well-developed,” in terms of the two countries' government-to-government as well as commercial interactions.

In his pre-departure speech, Marcos said his visit “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."

Since he assumed office in the second half of 2022, Marcos has traveled to Indonesia, Singapore, the United States, Cambodia, Thailand, Belgium, China, and Switzerland.

Japan is the ninth country that the President has visited in an official capacity.— NB/VBL, GMA Integrated News