Aquino leaves for Asean-Japan Summit


President Benigno Aquino 3rd will leave Thursday morning for a three-day official visit to Japan to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Japan Commemorative Summit, a Malacanang official said.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the President would be in Japan from December 12 to 14. He is expected to be back in Manila before dawn of December 15.

Upon arrival in Tokyo, Coloma said that the President will meet with the Filipino community and receive a symbolic check for Y1 million for victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

He will also award the Presidential Medal of Merit to former National Historical Institute (now National Historical Commission of the Philippines) chairman Ambeth Ocampo who is now a visiting professor in that country.

Filipinos comprise 10 percent of all foreign nationals living in Japan and are its third largest population of foreign nationals. Official data from the Japanese government show that there are 202,974 Filipino nationals in Japan of which 6,908 have no valid visas.

On the following day, Coloma said that President Aquino is expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“The President and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet to discuss among others the recovery and reconstruction program of the government post-Typhoon Yolanda, Maritime Cooperation, the Mindanao peace process and people-to-people exchanges,” he said.

Both leaders will also witness the signing and exchange of notes on the post-disaster standby loan worth JP¥ 10 billion or $100 million, a loan for multi-role response vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard worth JP ¥18.732 billion or $187 million, and a revised route schedule for the Philippines-Japan Air Services Agreement.

The President will also receive an honorary doctorate of law degree from the Sophia University, and meet with the members of the Nippon Keidanren or Japan Business Federation at the Keidanren Kaikan.

He will also receive a courtesy call by the Japan Philippines Parliament Arians Friendship League and receive Bank of Japan Governor and Mrs. Haruhiko Kuroda.

He would also attend, along with the other Asean leaders and their spouses, a 30-minute afternoon tea ceremony to be hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, which would be followed by a dinner hosted by Abe and Madame Akie Abe.

Traveling with the President are Coloma, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Tranportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, and Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad. CATHERINE S. VALENTE


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