• Japanese PM to visit PH

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    JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be in the Philippines from July 26 to 27 to meet with President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

    The two heads of states will discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues, and “further advance the Strategic Partnership” between the Philippines and Japan.

    Abe, president of the Liberal Democratic Party, first visited the Philippines in December 2006 during his first term as the Japanese prime minister.

    Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, a member of the Democratic Party of Japan from 2011 to 2012, has never visited the Philippines.

    Abe is a known hardliner and conservative whose policies and several statements, especially with regards to the role of Japan in the exploitation and the “serial rape” of “comfort women” during the World War II, pitted him against China, Korea, the United States, the Philippines and several other Asian and Western nations.

    He has also taken a tough stance against China with regards to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute. Shortly after his victory over Noda in December last year, Abe said he is in favor of rebuilding Japan’s nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster and of strengthening ties with Washington.

    The first budget he passed saw an increase in defense spending and manpower, and a cut in foreign aid. Abe agreed to boost the country’s defense sector, which was disintegrated after the barbarity of the second world war.

    Japan is one of only two strategic partners of the Philippines. In 2012, Japan was the Philippines’ number one trade partner and provider of official development assistance as well as the second major source of approved investments and third source of tourist arrivals.

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