Arrival Statement by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. upon his return from the official visit to Japan

Speeches 12 February 2023

Thank you very much, good evening.

All the Cabinet ministers – Cabinet secretaries who are with us, thank you for coming to welcome us back from our trip in Ja — [Oh, please, please sit down.] — our trip in Japan.

Vice President Sara Duterte; former President and our most valuable counsel in all of these trips, the former President and now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; also accompanying us on this trip was Senate President Migz Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez; Senator Mark Villar also joined us; and of course I would like to properly greet our First Lady, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos; Pasay District Representative Antonino Calixto; the AFP Chief of Staff General Andy Centino and the major service commanders; PNP Chief General Jun Azurin; PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu; my fellow workers in government; ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for coming this evening to welcome us back from our Japan – rather busy Japan trip.

The First Lady and I, together with the Philippine delegation composed of government officials and business leaders, are happy to be back in the Philippines with great news from our visit to Japan.

I had a very fruitful meeting with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. Bound by shared values and common aspirations for our peoples, we committed to further strengthen the Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Japan and mapped out a transformative, future-oriented partnership that is responsive to new developments.

We have cemented our defense and security relations, we have also covered a great deal of ground in the areas of agriculture, ICT cooperation, and with the signing of bilateral agreements that provide the framework for enhanced mutually-beneficial collaboration in many areas.

As ever our partner, Japan committed to provide infrastructure development loans for two major projects – the North South Commuter Railway for Malolos-Tutuban, and the North South Commuter Railway Project Extension, all these totaling JPY 377 billion or the equivalent of about USD 3 billion.

The completion of these projects, along with other ongoing large-scale Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects such as the Metro Manila Subway Project and many more across the country, are expected to translate to better lives for Filipinos through improved facilitation of the movement of people, of goods, and of services.

During this visit to Japan, I also met with business leaders and potential investors. In our roundtable meetings, I briefed them on the new and better business climate and investment environment in the Philippines.

Key private sector representatives were with me and engaged with Japanese industry giants to seize the economic opportunities now present in the Philippines. Coming back, we carry with us over USD 13 billion in contributions and pledges to benefit our people, create approximately 24,000 jobs, and further solidify the foundations of our economic environment.

I also talked to the CEOs of Japanese shipping companies and associations. This was very important as Japan has the second largest maritime industry in the world and they employ 31,673 Filipino seafarers. That number constitutes 70% of the maritime crew of the Japanese shipowners.

And the Japanese shipping companies also have investments and long-term partnerships with Philippine stakeholders in maritime education and welfare programs.

I had the honor of having an Imperial Audience with Their Majesties The Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan. In my audience with Their Majesties, we reaffirmed the commitment that we have to enhance the close friendship and cultural ties between Filipinos and Japanese.

Last but not least, earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking before fellow Filipinos living and working in Japan this morning. We have close to 300,000 overseas Filipinos living in Japan.

And while I know that they are doing well there, and are very well-respected in their professions, I assured them that my administration is committed to creating more job opportunities in the Philippines so that working abroad will become a career choice and not the only option available to them. I told them that we are working doubly hard to enact policies to forge partnerships that will make our economy more competitive and attractive to foreign investors and to entrepreneurs.

From my visit, it was very clear that our Strategic Partnership with Japan has withstood the test of time and is poised for a new decade of mutual trust, mutual support, and mutual benefit.

So I thank you all. Maraming, maraming salamat po at magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat. [applause]

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