Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Thursday, June 30, 2022, 7:06 p.m. Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila (Manila)）
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I am making the first visit in two years to the Philippines as a Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs in order to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy. For Japan, the Philippines is a neighboring maritime nation and a strategic partner with which it shares fundamental values and strategic interests.
In addition, both Japan and the Philippines are allies of the United States. On this occasion, , I met with incoming and outgoing government dignitaries in the Philippines and exchanged views regarding further cooperation toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and strengthening cooperation on various regional and international issues.
I paid a courtesy call on President Marcos today, and Vice President Sara Duterte yesterday. In these courtesy calls, we confirmed cooperation toward economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, resumption of people-to-people exchanges including tourism, support for equipment and capacity building of the Philippine Coast Guard, and strengthening and facilitation of exercises and other activities between the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In addition, I conveyed that Japan would continue to support the Mindanao peace process.
With regard to regional and international situations, I stated strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas as well as economic coercion.
I also conveyed that Japan supports President Marcos’ position to firmly maintain the arbitral award between the Philippines and China and to protect the Philippines’ maritime interests. Additionally, President Marcos and I concurred on close cooperation between Japan and the Philippines to maintain and strengthen the international order based on the rule of law.
In addition, we shared the recognition that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an outrageous act that undermines the foundation of the international order, and that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are unacceptable in any region.
Moreover, we confirmed the strengthening of cooperation on the abductions, nuclear and missile issues related to North Korea, the situation in Myanmar, and other issues.
Yesterday, I met with former President Duterte and former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Locsin. I expressed my gratitude for their efforts, which have led to the Japan-Philippine relations being described as reaching a “Golden Age”. I also stated that I intend to further strengthen cooperation while utilizing the Japan-Philippines High Level Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation and the Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) , which were established under the Duterte administration. The Philippine side expressed gratitude for Japan’s one trillion-yen infrastructure cooperation, support for maritime security capabilities, COVID-19 countermeasures, and contributions to the Mindanao peace process, and stated that they would continue to make efforts to strengthen bilateral relations after the change of administrations.
This afternoon, I visited the Philippine Coast Guard and a Teresa Magbanua patrol boat, which was built in my hometown of Shimonoseki City through an ODA loan from Japan. I received an explanation from the Philippine Coast Guard officials regarding duties concerning the situation in the South China Sea, executing maritime law, and other matters, and recognized the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
The Government of Japan is determined to further promote cooperation with the Philippines, our important regional strategic partner, to strengthen bilateral relations and realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” beyond administrations.
That is all from me.
Reporter: I would like to ask about security cooperation with the Philippines. I believe that maritime security cooperation has been advanced until now, including the “2+2” meeting that was held in April. Please tell us if you were able to confirm during your stay that Japan will continue to promote such cooperation with the incoming administration as well. In addition, a reciprocal access agreement (RAA) and acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) have been mentioned in the “2+2”. Please tell us about that. Japan has also provided radar and spaceship equipment to the Philippines. Did you have any discussion on new provision of such equipment?
Minister Hayashi: With regard to the fields of security and maritime security, during my courtesy call on President Marcos today and Vice President Duterte yesterday, we confirmed further promotion of support to enhance the equipment and capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard, and to strengthen and facilitate exercises between the SDF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is important to further strengthen bilateral relations, including in the security and maritime security fields, toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” with the Philippines, our important regional strategic partner which is also a maritime nation like Japan. Japan will closely cooperate with the new Marcos administration, utilizing the “2+2” framework. During my courtesy calls on President Marcos and Vice President Duterte, we discussed strengthening and facilitating exercises between the SDF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but we have not had specific discussions regarding an agreement. In any event, Japan will closely coordinate with the new Marcos administration to further strengthen cooperation to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and strengthen bilateral relations with the Philippines, our important regional strategic partner.