Japan-Philippine Joint Statement
"Partnership between Close Neighbors for Comprehensive Cooperation"

December 9, 2006

1. Overview of Bilateral Relations at the 50th Anniversary of the Normalization of Diplomatic Relations and Promotion of Cooperation in the Future

H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines, held a summit meeting on December 9, 2006, where the two leaders exchanged views on wide-ranging bilateral and global issues. Recognizing that this summit meeting was of great importance in terms of the fact that this meeting added the finishing touch to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines, and reflecting upon the half century of the cordial relations after the war, the two leaders discussed the future prospect of the bilateral relations that will enter a new stage.

In the meeting, President Arroyo expressed her appreciation for the economic cooperation extended by Japan after the war over the last 50 years. Prime Minister Abe expressed that Japan will continuously provide as much assistance as possible for the sustainable development of the Philippines. The two leaders, recalling that both countries have established a strong relationship of trust through, not only the cooperation in the political and economic spheres, but also a broad range of human exchanges, expressed their intentions to comprehensively promote interaction and cooperation as neighboring countries in a variety of fields, as well as to closely collaborate in tackling both regional and global issues.

The two leaders shared the view that the two countries, as partners for comprehensive cooperation, will further promote cooperation in the following eight fields based on the cordial and vigorous relations as neighboring countries.

2. Promotion of Cooperation in the Eight Fields and Specific Cooperation in the Near Future

(1) Promotion of Policy Dialogues

The two leaders, recognizing the importance of fostering various kinds of policy dialogues for further promoting mutual understanding and cooperation, confirmed to advance dialogues, particularly, in the fields of security, maritime and ocean as well as consular affairs.

The two leaders, cognizant of the rapidly changing security environment in the region, shared the commitment to continuously contributing to regional stability, and recognized the necessity of exchanging views between the two countries on political and security issues. The two leaders, mindful of the satisfactory outcomes of the Politico-Military and Military-Military (PM/MM) Dialogues which have been held twice so far, decided to hold these Dialogues regularly, and also shared the importance of holding dialogue at political level on political and security issues.

The two leaders, in light of the geographical characteristics of both countries bordering upon each other over the sea, renewed the recognition of the significance of promoting mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of maritime and ocean affairs. In this regard, the two leaders expressed their intention to hold, at an early stage, a preparatory consultation for the meeting on maritime and ocean affairs between the relevant authorities of the two countries, in order to explore the possibility of further cooperation between the two countries in this field.

The two leaders recognized that, with the rapidly increasing human exchanges at the grass-roots level between two countries, it is necessary to further promote close consultation and cooperation in the field of consular affairs between the two countries. To this end, the two leaders decided to hold the 4th Bilateral Consultation on Consular Matters in 2007, to discuss major consular issues. The two leaders also shared the view to enhance bilateral cooperation in prevention and eradication of human trafficking and protection of its victims since it is a grave violation of human rights and crime.

(2) Cooperation for the Entry into Force of Agreements in the Economic Field

The two leaders welcomed the signing of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) in September 2006. The two leaders emphasized that the JPEPA would enhance mutual economic benefits as well as opportunities, recognizing that the JPEPA is designed to formulate comprehensive economic partnership, including through trade liberalization, investment promotion and cooperation projects. The two leaders also reconfirmed their commitment to continue to exercise leadership so that the JPEPA would come into effect as soon as possible.

The two leaders also welcomed the signing of the Protocol amending the Convention between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (Double Taxation Avoidance Convention). The two leaders underlined that this revision, which will reduce the withholding taxes imposed on dividends, interest and royalties paid between the two countries, would further enhance the bilateral trade and investment.

(3) Further Promotion of Peace in Mindanao

The two leaders reconfirmed that achieving peace in Mindanao is not only of great significance for ensuring stability and prosperity in Southeast Asia, but also of extreme importance for fighting against international terrorism. The two leaders shared the view on the critical importance of providing the Mindanao people with the "dividend of peace" in tangible form, such as the improvement of living standards in former conflict-affected areas, in order to consolidate peace in Mindanao. President Arroyo highly valued that Japan dispatched the Senior Adviser on Reconstruction and Development of Mindanao to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao last October, with a view to promoting socio-economic development necessary for achieving the above end. Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan would conduct a study early next year to formulate a plan for reconstruction and development in Mindanao, as well as to take measures to meet the urgent needs there.

President Arroyo welcomed Japan's study in Mindanao, and renewed her appreciation for Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr. Aso's announcement, on the occasion of his visit to Manila in July, that the Government of Japan would implement more than ten (10) projects of "Grant Assistance For Grass-roots Human Security Projects" within a year, and also expressed her gratitude for the twelve (12) projects to be implemented by the Government of Japan, mainly in the field of education such as construction and refurbishment of school buildings, exceeding the number of previous announced projects. Prime Minister Abe, with the understanding that peacebuilding including peace process in Mindanao is an issue of utmost importance both regionally and globally, stated that Japan would promote human resources development in the fields of peacebuilding, making full use of its experiences shared in Asia.

(4) Economic Cooperation

President Arroyo expressed her appreciation for the assistance and cooperation extended to date by the people and the Government of Japan, which has significantly contributed to the economic development of the Philippines, including through infrastructure development, poverty reduction, environmental protection and human resources development, all of which are still considered as important areas by the two Governments.

President Arroyo, expressing her deep gratitude for the signing of the Exchange of Notes concerning "the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (Phase II)" in the 26th Yen Loan Package, emphasized that this project has great significance in attaining sustainable economic growth and improving living environment of Metro Manila, through the mitigation of flood damage.

Prime Minister Abe also expressed that, after dispatching a government mission to Manila with respect to the 27th Yen Loan Package, the Government of Japan is currently considering to provide afresh yen loan.

The two leaders emphasized the importance of sustaining harmony, upholding democratic values and protecting human rights, as well as preserving the environment and social well being with respect to general governance and to the implementation of the official development assistance.

(5) Cooperation in the Energy Sector

The two leaders welcomed the financial support to the "Power Sector Development Program (PSDP)" to be implemented for achieving power sector reforms in the Philippines, made through co-finance of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB). The two leaders expressed their expectation that this co-financing, which will provide the stable electricity supply, would contribute to the improvement, not only of the standard of living of the local people, but also of the investment climate in the Philippines. They determined on further developing cooperation in the area of energy efficiency based on Japan's "Asian energy efficiency and conservation program".

(6) Facilitation of Cooperation in Disaster Management by Simplified Procedure

President Arroyo expressed her appreciation for the prompt and generous assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction, extended by the people and the Government of Japan to the past natural disasters in the Philippines, as a true testimony to the closeness of the bilateral ties.

The two leaders, with a view to delivering prompt and effective emergency relief upon occurrence of natural disasters, decided to develop a document concerning simplification and facilitation of the procedures for implementing emergency relief through consultations between the relevant authorities of both Governments for discussing possible ways for further cooperation in this field.

(7) Promotion of Mutual Understanding through Human Exchanges and Cultural Activities

The two leaders, acknowledging the great importance of further enhancement of human interactions between the two countries for promoting cordial relations at the grass-roots level, recognized the importance of enhancing Japanese language education for promoting better mutual communication and understanding.

Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan will consider to expand the number of Filipino teachers of the Japanese language to be accepted to "the Training Program for Teachers of the Japanese Language" in Japan, taking into account the needs in the Philippines, and will start a training program for Filipino teachers of the Japanese language in the Japan Foundation, Manila. Prime Minister Abe also announced that Japan is prepared to intensely provide teaching materials of the Japanese language to educational and other relevant institutions which serve as bases in the local areas. With a view to enhancing the overall level of Japanese language teaching in the Philippines, Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan's willingness to invite education officials of the Philippine Government to Japan in order to assist in formulating a mid- and long-term plan to foster Japanese language teachers in the Philippines. President Arroyo highly appreciated such announcement on the assistance extended by the Government of Japan.

(8) Promotion of Cooperation and Collaboration on Regional and Global Issues

Prime Minister Abe reconfirmed Japan's continued support for the attainment of ASEAN Community and the central role of ASEAN efforts towards open, transparent and inclusive East Asia community building, and expressed his expectation that the Philippines would exercise the leadership as the chair of ASEAN and East Asia Summit to that end. For the long-term peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia, the two leaders reiterated their intention to enhance regional cooperation that would produce tangible benefits to address region's common challenges, with a view to promoting regional integration in East Asia, under a variety of frameworks including the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Plus Three and the ASEAN Regional Forum. In this regard, the two leaders shared the view on the importance of a track two study to promote Economic Partnership among ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand as well as of establishment of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), proposed by Japan.

The two leaders also shared the view that the threat of terrorism remains a regional and global security concern and reaffirmed their determination to prevent, suppress and eliminate all forms of terrorism. The two leaders welcomed the substantial achievements brought by the Japan's assistance for capacity building of law-enforcement agencies, including the human resources development program to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). They expressed their determination that the two countries will continue to closely cooperate for the enhancement of counter-terrorism measures through bilateral cooperation as well as through ASEAN-Japan Counter-Terrorism Dialogue and other regional approaches.

The two leaders expressed their grave concern about the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. They condemned the recent missile launches and the nuclear test conducted by North Korea, and urged North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes. The two leaders welcomed efforts of the relevant parties towards resumption of the Six-Party Talks and urged North Korea to take concrete and effective steps toward full implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1695 and 1718 and the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005. They also urged North Korea to respond to other security and humanitarian concerns of the international community, including the abduction issue.

The two leaders reaffirmed their determination to continue to actively work together for achieving early reform of the United Nations including the Security Council. President Arroyo reiterated that the Philippines will continue to strongly support Japan's permanent membership in the Security Council. Prime Minister Abe appreciated the support by the Philippines, and expressed his resolve to continue to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region, including through addressing its political and security issues. President Arroyo expressed the expectation that Japan will further make its contribution in the security field in East Asia.

Signed at Manila, 9 December 2006

Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Macapagal-Arroyo
President of
the Republic of the Philippines

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