President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday expressed gratitude to Japan for continually extending assistance to his administration that help boosts the Philippine economy, Malacañang said.
Duterte acknowledged Tokyo’s relentless support when Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu paid a visit to him at Malacañan Palace.
“Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu paid a courtesy on President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañan on Thursday, with the Philippine leader expressing his gratitude to Japan for its continuing support to the country’s development agenda,” the Palace said in a press statement.
“The President highlighted numerous Japan-financed projects in the Philippines, which make Filipinos grateful to the Asian economic powerhouse for its continuing assistance,” it added.
To date, Japan is the country’s top source of official development assistance (ODA), with USD8.64 billion in loans and grants, as of September 2019.
Japan makes up nearly half or 46 percent of the Philippines’ total ODA portfolio.
Malacañang said the President also thanked Motegi for finding time to visit Manila for the first time.
For Motegi, it was a “great honor” to meet Duterte during his stay in the Philippines.
“The Philippine-Japanese bilateral relation, he (Motegi) pointed out, has entered a golden age since President Duterte’s election,” Malacañang said.
Motegi likewise told Duterte that he appreciated the President’s attendance to the Japanese Emperor’s enthronement rite in October last year.
Duterte attended Naruhito’s formal enthronement in Japan on Oct. 22, 2019, but returned to the Philippines on the same day after feeling “unbearable” pain in his lower back.
The Palace said Motegi also condoled with Filipinos who were hit by recent typhoons and the series of powerful earthquakes.
Motegi expressed heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the survivors of the recent typhoon that hit the central Philippines and the earthquake that devastated parts of Mindanao last month.
Motegi, who came from Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, represented Tochigi Fifth District to the Japanese House of Representatives for nine times.
Before his appointment as foreign minister in September 2019, Motegi served as the Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, Minister in charge of Social Security Reform and Minister in charge of Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as Japan and the United States’ trade negotiations in October 2018.
He also became Japan’s Minister for Human Resources Development and Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization.
Motegi graduated from the Faculty of Economics, the University of Tokyo in March 1978 and completed his Master’s Degree at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June 1983. (PNA)