Japan-Philippines Joint Statement
"Fostering a Strategic Partnership for the Future
between Close Neighbors"

-To overcome the present economic crisis
and further strengthen the bilateral relations-

H.E. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan, and H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines held constructive and forward-looking dialogue on the occasion of President Arroyo's visit to Japan from 17 to 20 June, 2009 as an official guest invited by the Government of Japan. On the basis of the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement "Partnership between Close Neighbors for Comprehensive Cooperation" issued in December 2006, the two leaders expressed their determination to further expand and strengthen bilateral relations to foster a strategic partnership for the future, especially bilateral economic relations in order to open a new era of Japan-Philippines relations based on the entry into force of the Agreement between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines for an Economic Partnership (JPEPA) and needs of mitigating the impact of the current global economic crisis.

1. Introduction

1.1 The two leaders confirmed that, since the establishment of the "Partnership between Close Neighbors for Comprehensive Cooperation" in December 2006, the multifaceted cooperative relationship between the two countries has developed in a wide range of fields. With the implementation of JPEPA, the two leaders shared the view that the two countries will further develop their longstanding and productive relationship and foster a strategic partnership for the future.

1.2 The two leaders shared the view that both governments need to make every effort to overcome the current global economic crisis. President Arroyo expressed her deep appreciation for Japan's initiatives to address the current global economic crisis. In the midst of the crisis, the two leaders shared the view that both governments will further promote cooperation, especially in the areas described in 2. below, to further strengthen the economic relations between Japan and the Philippines towards strengthening Asia's growth potential and expansion of domestic demand so that Asia will contribute to the world economy as a "center of growth open to the world".

2. Promotion of cooperation to further strengthen economic relations and overcome the present economic crisis

2.1 By utilizing the framework of JPEPA, especially to encourage investment from Japan to the Philippines, both governments will further create employment opportunities in the Philippines and boost demand in the region. To this end, both governments will strengthen dialogue with the private sector, promote economic cooperation based on the private sector's needs, focus on infrastructure and human resources development and improve the business and investment environment, with a view to actualizing the potential demand of private sector investment on the Japanese side. The two leaders welcomed the convening of three of JPEPA Sub-Committees, most importantly the first round of the Sub-Committee on Improvement of the Business Environment that took place in Manila on 15 June 2009.

2.2 In order to reap the benefits of JPEPA, both governments will promote cooperation for the smooth implementation of JPEPA. The two leaders welcomed the start of the training in Japan for the 283 candidates for nurses and certified care workers. Both governments will cooperate closely towards smooth implementation of their activities.

2.3 On the basis of such elements as the increase of human exchange between the two countries, both governments will hold a working group as soon as possible to examine the possibility of concluding a social security agreement.

2.4 President Arroyo expressed her appreciation for the latest assistance and cooperation extended by Japan, especially to "Development Policy Support Program (II)" in which up to approximately JPY 9.3 billion (USD one hundred million) was extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) last March, as well as "Agricultural Credit Support Project" , "Logistics Infrastructure Development Project" and "Project for Flood Disaster Mitigation in Camiguin Island" for which the signing and exchange of Notes took place today. President Arroyo also expressed her appreciation for the dispatch of the study teams by JICA to Aurora Province for a proposed project for the construction of a hospital in Baler. She also expressed a hope for possible infrastructure project that will benefit the Aurora Special Economic Zone. In order to smoothly promote economic cooperation between both governments, President Arroyo gave the assurance that her government would make its utmost effort to work with the Senate to expedite the completion of the ratification process of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation already signed by both governments.

2.5 The two leaders recalled the Joint Press Statement of the East Asia Summit on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis and the Joint Press Statement on ASEAN+3 Cooperation in Response to the Global Economic and Financial Crisis issued on 3 rd June, 2009 and reaffirmed the need for policy responses that focus on maintaining financial stability and preventing a decline in economic growth. The two leaders welcomed the substantial progress of regional financial cooperation initiatives including the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) and Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI). As for bilateral financial cooperation, they welcomed that the consultation has started on a yen swap arrangement and Samurai Bond issuance support. They also encouraged the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Asian Development Bank(ADB) and ASEAN Secretariat to prepare a coherent master plan which would contribute to coordinating, expediting, upgrading and expanding sub-regional initiatives, such as BIMP-EAGA(Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area), and promoting private sector participation.

2.6 In terms of Japan's "Growth Initiative towards Doubling the Size of Asia's Economy", President Arroyo expressed keen interest in exploring concrete bilateral cooperation activities that would help achieve the objectives of the Growth Initiative such as "Leading Investment to Future Environment Initiative" announced by Japan last March and Prime Minister Aso expressed Japan's readiness to examine in a proactive manner upon specific request from the Philippines.

2.7 The two leaders shared the view on positioning tourism, fishery resources management and human resource development as three priority fields for development of less-developed maritime Southeast Asian areas under the framework of the BIMP-EAGA for the development of the regional economy, and welcomed the Japan-BIMP Senior Officials Meeting that was held twice last year. President Arroyo valued Japan's proactive stance.

3. Further strengthening Japan-Philippines relations to foster a strategic partnership for the Future

3.1 The two leaders shared the view that both governments will promote cooperation, particularly in the areas described in this section of the Joint Statement, to further strengthen Japan-Philippines relations to foster a strategic partnership for the future. To this end, the two leaders reiterated the need to further promote policy dialogues, including the Vice Ministerial policy dialogue that will continue to be convened regularly every 18 months, and Politico-Military (PM) and Military-Military (MM) Dialogues that will continue to be convened basically on an annual basis, and consultations on maritime cooperation and consular affairs.

3.2 With regard to the Mindanao peace process, Prime Minister Aso emphasized the importance of the early resumption of the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He also pointed out that both sides should exercise maximum self-restraint to avoid escalation of hostilities, especially in Central Mindanao, in order to make the situation in the region conducive for the resumption of peace talks. President Arroyo expressed determination that she will exert her utmost efforts to achieve these ends. She indicated the Philippine Government's desire to secure an early agreement on renewal of the mandate and redeployment of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and requested Japan's cooperation including the continued presence in the IMT of its two advisers on reconstruction and development. Prime Minister Aso expressed his full support and willingness to provide assistance for the progress of the peace process.

3.3 The two leaders recognized that acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Malacca Straits, among other areas, are a serious problem that threatens maritime security and safe maritime navigation. President Arroyo expressed her deep appreciation for Japan's active measures on this issue including the dispatch of vessels and maritime patrol aircrafts of the Self-Defense Force.

3.4 With regard to North Korea, the two leaders welcomed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1874, which, among others, "condemns in the strongest terms the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on 25 May 2009 in violation and flagrant disregard of its relevant resolutions." The two leaders further expressed their condemnation of the missile launch conducted by North Korea on 5 April 2009 in contravention of the relevant UNSC resolutions which also constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The two leaders likewise emphasized the importance of implementing the relevant UNSC resolutions. Prime Minister Aso underlined the need to comprehensively resolve the outstanding issues concerning North Korea including the abduction, nuclear and missile issues to which President Arroyo expressed her full-fledged support and cooperation, and at the same time she stressed the need for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the issues, including through the Six Party Talks.

3.5 President Arroyo appreciated Japan's contributions in the regional and international arena and reiterated the Philippines' strong support for Japan's permanent membership in UNSC. Prime Minister Aso expressed his appreciation for the Philippines' support. The two leaders confirmed that both governments will continue to closely cooperate in the intergovernmental negotiations towards achieving the early realization of the reform of UNSC.

3.6 With regard to climate change, the two leaders shared the view that both governments will work closely under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), towards establishing an effective international framework beyond 2012, in which all major economies will participate in a responsible manner. Prime Minister Aso expressed his appreciation for the Philippines' support of the "Cool Earth Promotion Programme" proposed by Japan, and also expressed his intention to continue to cooperate pursuant to the Philippines' request based on the "Cool Earth Partnership" established between Japan and the Philippines. President Arroyo lauded Japan's initiative to establish the "Cool Earth Partnership" and expressed her appreciation for the support to be provided by Japan.

3.7 The two leaders welcomed the successful implementation of the first ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Voluntary Demonstration of Response on Disaster Relief held in the Philippines, co-hosted by the Philippines and the United States of America, as the first concrete and tangible cooperation by the ARF. The two leaders shared the view that both governments will further develop their cooperation within the ARF to enhance the Forum's role in promoting regional security and addressing non-traditional security concerns such as counter-terrorism and transnational crime, disaster relief, non-proliferation and disarmament, maritime security and peacekeeping.

3.8 The two leaders welcomed that both governments will hold preliminary, informal discussions on cooperation between Japan and the Philippines in the area of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters as soon as possible.

3.9 With regard to terrestrial digital broadcasting, Prime Minister Aso requested the Philippine Government to support the adoption of the Japanese system. President Arroyo said that the Philippine Government will seriously consider the benefits of the Japanese system and reach an early decision.

Signed at Tokyo, 18 June 2009

Taro Aso
Prime Minister of Japan
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic of the Philippines

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