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Last Update : Monday, Jan 23, 2017

JapanGov Weekly

Cabinet Secretariat [Monday, January 16, 2017]

Visit to the Philippines: First Day

On January 12 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Manila in the Republic of the Philippines after holding an impromptu press conference at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

The Prime Minister said at the impromptu press conference,

“This year, Japan’s strategic diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map will start from the Philippines, Viet Nam, Indonesia, and Australia.

Already I have held a series of meetings with the leaders of each country. During this visit I look forward to holding more candid and frank discussions with the leaders.

I hope to exchange views regarding bilateral issues as well as our views on the regional situation. I also hope to discuss candidly on what the leaders and I can do by joining hands, along with how we should contribute to regional peace and stability.”

After arriving in Manila, Philippines, the Prime Minister attended a welcome ceremony. Afterwards, the Prime Minister held a summit meeting with H.E. Mr. Rodrigo R. Duterte, President of the Philippines, which was followed by a signing ceremony and a joint press announcement.

Subsequently, the Prime Minister attended an expanded meeting with companies and a commemorative photo session. The Prime Minister then attended a welcome banquet hosted by the Philippines.

The Prime Minister said the following in his address at the banquet,

"I thank you for the grand welcome you have given me and for this magnificent banquet you have prepared. I very much appreciate the most cordial hospitality you have shown me.

This was the third summit meeting that President Duterte and I have held since he took office. I am truly delighted that our relationship grows closer each time we meet. Japan-Philippines relations are like the deep and warm relationship shared between family members or brothers. When he was Mayor of Davao, President Duterte used his personal funds to erect a monument honoring the friendly relationship between Japan and the Philippines. This monument of tranquility is inscribed with President Duterte’s message, “Every human being is my brother, my sister, my child.” I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to President Duterte for welcoming Japanese like members of the family.

When President Duterte visited Japan this past October, he and I and a small group of others held talks that went far beyond the scheduled time. The fact that we were so fired up in our discussions despite no alcohol being served was entirely due to President Duterte so keenly relishing the Japanese cuisine I had prepared for us.

I am accompanied during this visit by 24 top-level executives of Japan’s leading companies. Every one of them is a great fan of the Philippines. I have high expectations for an expansion of our bilateral relations, not only in terms of our economies but also culturally and in people-to-people exchanges, through the visit by this business delegation.

Tomorrow, most of the delegation will accompany me to President Duterte’s hometown of Davao, and we are all looking forward to it greatly.

I now wish to offer a toast to the good health and happiness of President Duterte and all the distinguished guests here tonight, and to a further deepening of the bonds of friendship and cooperation linking the people of Japan and the Philippines."

Cabinet Secretariat [Wednesday, January 18, 2017]

Visit to the Philippines: Second Day

On January 13 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Davao in the Republic of the Philippines.

Prime Minister Abe attended a breakfast meeting hosted by H.E. Mr. Rodrigo R. Duterte, President of the Philippines, and then attended the Philippines-Japan Business Forum. Later, Prime Minister Abe attended the summit meeting with a small number of participants, and then a Philippine eagle naming ceremony, before visiting Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku.

Cabinet Secretariat [Wednesday, January 18, 2017]

Visit to Australia

On January 14 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Sydney in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Prime Minister Abe went on a walk with the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and then attended a Japan-Australia tourism seminary and a business meeting. Afterwards, Prime Minister Abe received a courtesy call from the Hon. Mike Baird MP, Premier of New South Wales , held talks with Prime Minister Turnbull, and then attended a ceremony for the exchange of documents, a signing ceremony, and a joint press announcement. Lastly, Prime Minister Abe attended a reception hosted by Prime Minister Turnbull.

Cabinet Secretariat [Wednesday, January 18, 2017]

Visit to Indonesia

On January 15 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Jakarta in the Republic of Indonesia.

Prime Minister Abe attended a meeting with NIHONGO Partners, and then received a courtesy call from Indonesians who were formerly exchange students in Japan. Afterwards, the Prime Minister attended a business dialogue, and then attended a welcome ceremony. Later, Prime Minister Abe held talks with H.E. Mr. Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia , and then attended a joint press announcement. Lastly, Prime Minister Abe attended a welcome dinner hosted by President Joko and his wife.

The Prime Minister said at the meeting with the NIHONGO Partners,

“Indonesia ranks second in the world in terms of the number of people studying Japanese on a daily basis. As NIHONGO Partners, you are all working as the literal partners of teachers and students in each high school to support Japanese classes. I wish to offer my heartfelt encouragement to all of you, who are giving it your all each day, away from home and in an unfamiliar environment.

I have heard that as NIHONGO Partners, you are not only teaching the Japanese language, but also about origami, calligraphy, Japanese food, and other aspects of Japanese culture. It so happens that some time ago, during the New Year’s period, I folded some paper into a crane for the first time in a long while. I have not made a paper crane in about 50 years so it did not turn out very well. Upon the suggestion of my wife, I folded it as part of a project to send paper cranes to Pearl Harbor and I wrote my name on it. It so happens that someone took a picture of my crane and uploaded it onto the internet. People commented that I did a poor job on the crane considering I am the Prime Minister of Japan. That was quite a shock for me. You are helping to spread various aspects of Japanese culture throughout the world, and I believe that efforts to understand Japanese culture will eventually lead people to understand more about the way that Japanese people think. I think this is very important.

I have also heard that through your interactions with the people living in the areas that you are dispatched to, you are not only sharing Japanese culture, but are also deepening your own understanding of Indonesia, and thereby working for mutual exchange. I hope that the Japanese language teachers here today will gain many ideas from the NIHONGO Partners for their daily lessons and that this will further enhance the quality of Japanese classes. I hope that students will be able to further enhance their capabilities in Japanese through daily exchanges with the NIHONGO Partners, and that through the NIHONGO Partners, you will come to love the Japanese language even more. I was very happy to hear a moment ago from students that Japanese language classes and culture classes are very fun. I think it is extremely important that students first and foremost think these classes are fun. I hope that at some point, each student will visit Japan, and come directly in contact with Japanese culture and Japanese traditions.

I want to close my remarks by expressing my hope that the NIHONGO Partners will help to further deepen mutual understanding between Japan and Indonesia, and continue to further strengthen and deepen exchanges between our two countries.”

In addition, the Prime Minister said the following at the meeting with Indonesians who were formerly exchange students in Japan,

“I want to express my great pleasure at being able to have this meeting today with former exchange students in Japan, including Dr. Ginandjar Kartasasmita , Chairman of the Board of the Indonesia-Japan Friendship Association , who has worked hard for many years to support friendly relations between Japan and Indonesia.

Japan and Indonesia have long enjoyed active exchanges in various fields, including politics, the economy, culture, and sports. Large contributions have been made by former exchange students to our friendly relations, which are held together by strong bonds. I would like to express my gratitude for that.

I am aware that Universitas Darma Persada , a university that was established primarily through the efforts of former exchange students, celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. I wish to express my heartfelt congratulations.

Among those in attendance today are people who studied at a variety of universities in Japan. You are all now contributing to a wide range of fields. I hope that all of you will make major contributions in the future as bridges linking Japan and Indonesia, linking the universities you graduated from and Indonesia, and linking the regions you studied in and Indonesia.”

Cabinet Secretariat [Friday, January 20, 2017]

Visit to Vietnam: First Day

On January 16 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hanoi in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

After attending the welcome ceremony, the Prime Minister held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and then held a signing ceremony and joint press announcement. After that, the Prime Minister held meetings, respectively, with H.E. Dr. Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam; H.E. Mr. Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; and H.E. Mdm. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and then held a press conference.
Finally, the Prime Minister attended a welcome dinner hosted by Viet Nam.

At the welcome dinner, the Prime Minister said,
“Prime Minister and Mrs. Phuc, ladies and gentleman, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Prime Minister and Mrs. Phuc for hosting this grand banquet.

I am delighted to be visiting beautiful Viet Nam again after my visit two years ago. During that time, our bilateral relationship has developed in many fields.

Exchanges between the people and the companies of our two countries are highly significant for further deepening this extremely friendly relationship. On this visit, I am accompanied by representatives of some of Japan’s top business leaders. Having seen Viet Nam’s vitality, they are all very eager to develop their companies together with Viet Nam.

I am sure that, through the business meeting tomorrow, Japan’s exchanges with Viet Nam, which is growing dynamically, will expand, and that there will be even greater Japanese investment in Viet Nam.

Moreover, today I am accompanied by Ambassador Ryotaro Sugi, who serves as Goodwill Ambassador between Viet Nam and Japan. Ambassador Sugi has significantly contributed to our bilateral exchanges and development for almost 30 years. Since the year before last, he has been producing a program on Vietnam Television showcasing Japan.

In preparation for the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Viet Nam in 2018, working together with Ambassador Sugi, who is well-versed in the power of culture, I would like to advance bilateral cultural exchanges, such as through the holding of Japan festivals in various parts of Viet Nam, including Hoi An, where Prime Minister Phuc is from, and through television programs.

Furthermore, I would like to express my congratulations on Viet Nam winning its first-ever Olympic and Paralympic gold medals, specifically in the Olympic men’s shooting event and the Paralympic men’s weight-lifting event in Rio de Janeiro last year.

I have been told that Prime Minister Phuc is an ardent follower of badminton. At the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony, I transformed into Abe Mario, and built up momentum towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the same way, I would like to steadily build up the sports exchanges between our two countries.

This year the APEC meetings will be held in Viet Nam, as they were in 2006, 11 years ago. I attended those previous APEC meetings as Prime Minister, and this year, 11 years later, I will once again take part in the APEC meetings in Viet Nam as Prime Minister. This is a very rare opportunity for a Prime Minister of Japan, and I am delighted that I am able to attend two series of APEC meetings being hosted by Viet Nam.

In spring, the start of the Lunar New Year, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan will visit Viet Nam. I have heard that visitors early in the year are warmly welcomed in Viet Nam, and I am sure that this visit will further enhance our close bilateral friendship.

Finally, I would like to raise a toast to the health and success of Prime Minister and Mrs. Phuc, and of everyone in attendance here this evening, to the greater prosperity of Viet Nam, and to the further development of the relationship between Japan and Viet Nam.”

Cabinet Secretariat [Friday, January 20, 2017]

Visit to Vietnam: Second Day

On January 17 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is visiting Hanoi in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, attended an expanded meeting with businesses. Afterwards, the Prime Minister received a courtesy call from H.E. Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, President of the Viet Nam-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association, and then held a meeting with representatives of Japan-Viet Nam University.

In his opening remarks at the expanded meeting with businesses, the Prime Minister said,
“Good morning, everyone. On this visit I am accompanied by Japanese business leaders who have a particularly close relationship with Viet Nam. I am very pleased that, earlier, members of the public and private sectors held an active discussion at the meeting, which opened at 7:30 this morning.

Yesterday, at the Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Phuc, we reached agreement in regard to enhancing the investment environment, and further expanding investment and trade.

ASEAN is a center of global growth, and Viet Nam is a central member of ASEAN. Currently, more than 1,600 Japanese companies have entered Viet Nam. I would like to offer my praise for the contributions to the development of Viet Nam that Japanese companies have made up till now, through investment, the creation of employment, and the transfer of technology.

I would like to express my thanks to Prime Minister Phuc and other leaders on the Viet Nam side for their attendance today, and kindly ask that Prime Minister Phuc listen to the views of Japanese companies, which have advanced technology and knowledge, and to continue to actively support Japanese companies.

The companies on the Japan side have strengths in technology and human resources development, and are all eager to contribute to the economic development of Viet Nam.

I am sure that they will continue to firmly plant their roots in Viet Nam and that they will aim to develop alongside you.
We will continue to contribute to the development of Viet Nam, through both the public and private sectors. Thank you.”

Cabinet Secretariat [Friday, January 20, 2017]

Courtesy Call from Chief Representatives of Countries Participating in the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) Third Ministerial Interim Meeting and Others

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from chief representatives of countries participating in the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) Third Ministerial Interim Meeting and others at the Prime Minister's Office.