President Romualdez and Japan’s envoy pledge to strengthen bilateral relations

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Speaker of the House Martin Romualdez pledged on Tuesday (August 9) to strengthen the economic environment in the Philippines to make the country a viable and attractive investment destination for Japan.

Speaker of the House Martin Romualdez (right) and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko (left) (Photo from Romualdez’s office)

The Leyte First District legislator affirmed the strong strategic ties with Japan and assured Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko and his team that the Philippines will continue its strategic economic partnership with Japan.

“It’s really great that Japan remains and has been one of the country’s main trade, investment and development partners for a very long time. Through strategic policy reforms, we will improve the business climate in the Philippines to attract more direct investment from Japan,” Romualdez said in a statement.

Kazuhiko paid a courtesy visit to Romualdez in the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon.

They were joined by Kuronuma Kenji, senior representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Akihiko Hitomi, first secretary; and Yukari Koike, political agent, during the courtesy visit.

The two officials discussed the long-standing bilateral and inter-parliamentary relations between the Philippines and Japan and pledged to further strengthen ties and expand areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Japan is the Philippines’ second largest trading partner in 2021, with total trade of $21.83 billion, up 17.1% from the 2020 figure of $18.65 billion.

Exports and imports amounted to $10.73 billion and $18.65 billion, respectively.

Exports increased by 7%, while imports increased by 28.9% in 2021 compared to 2020 levels.

Meanwhile, Romualdez also thanked the Japanese government for the “immediate response by providing humanitarian aid” to the Philippines following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in northern Luzon on July 27.

“We deeply appreciate the assistance provided and recognize the strong cooperation with Japan in humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” he said.

The president also took the opportunity to offer his “sincere condolences” on the passing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe died on July 8 after being assaulted at a political event. He was 67 years old.

Earlier, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution (HR) No. 121, primarily introduced by Romualdez, House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Representative Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe and Leader of the minority in the House and representative of the 4Ps party list Marcelino Libanan, and Deputy Majority Leader and representative of Ilocos Norte Ferdinand Alexander Marcos.

The resolution sent the country’s “deepest condolences” to former Prime Minister Abe’s wife Akie Abe, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the people of Japan.

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