• New Japan envoy cites PH strategic role in region

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    Newly designated Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa arrived in Manila on Friday and pledged to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries “through continued cooperation in key areas of mutual interest.”

    In a statement, Ishikawa said he is “fully aware” of the strategic importance of the Philippines in the region.”

    “It is with great honor that I receive my first assignment as ambassador here in the Philippines,” he added.

    “The relationship between Japan and the Philippines has evolved a lot through the years. This is possibly due to the fact that we share many common attributes such as democracy and free-market principles,” Ishikawa said.

    Partnership between the Philippines and Japan, as the largest official development assistance donor to the country, according to the ambassador, “manifests itself through heightened support in regional security and maritime safety, enhanced trade and investment relations taking advantage of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement [JPEPA] and continuous support in the peace process in Mindanao.”

    “As I take on the role of Japanese ambassador to the Philippines, I hope to make significant contributions that would further strengthen the bilateral relations between our two countries, adding to the legacy of friendship and cooperation arduously achieved by those who have come before me,” Ishikawa said.

    Before coming to Manila, he was the director-general of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan from September 2012.

    Born in April 1955, the envoy was a graduate of the University of Tokyo in March 1980 before joining the ministry the following month.

    He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 with a master’s degree in international relations.

    In 1983, the ambassador studied at Harvard Graduate School of Economics.

    He was part of the Japanese embassies and consulates in Washington, Thailand and Detroit, and held positions at the ministry with focuses on economic cooperation, foreign policy and oceanic affairs.

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