Abe packs $8.66bn aid package for Philippines visit

Abe described being the first leader to visit Duterte as a "tremendous honour". Abe will instead receive a photo of the rare Philippine bird. "We will continue to enhance security and defense cooperation with the friendly nation of the Philippines", he emphasized.

The Japanese leader also expressed support for the Philippines' chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit this year.

"In particular, we will expand assistance in the areas prioritized by the Duterte administration such as infrastructure development; public safety and counter-terrorism; and anti-illegal drugs measure", he pointed out. "They have struck a resonant chord between the two of them and apparently, Prime Minister Abe wants to visit the President's house", he noted.

Abe's wife Akie will visit Mintal Cemetery, also known in the city as the Japanese Cemetery.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Perfecto Yasay Jr said that Abe's visit to the country is in reciprocation of their president's visit to Japan in October 2016.

"First, for the further development of the Philippines, we will create business opportunities through ODA and private sector investments which together will be of the order of one trillion yen over the next five years", Mr. Abe told Mr. Duterte during the two leaders' joint press statement.

"As maritime nations, the Philippines and Japan have a shared interest in keeping our waters safe and secure from threats of any kind".

According to the Japanese leader, the conflict over the sovereignty of a large portion of the South China Sea has become a common concern to members of the worldwide community, including Japan; as such matters are directly linked to regional peace and stability.

"At the same time, the Prime Minister underlined that this is a two-way street".

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"The significance of the rule of law, peaceful resolution of disputes and non-militarisation has been confirmed at Asean-related meetings a year ago".

The meeting took place as Abe hopes that the Philippines remains committed to an alliance with the United States in maintaining regional peace and stability and countering the growing assertiveness of China at sea, and just ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration as USA president on January 20.

Japan is one of the biggest investors in the Philippines, mainly in electronics, financial services and auto manufacturing, through firms that include Toyota, Mitsubishi and Canon.

In their joint statement following their meeting in Tokyo, Duterte and Abe shared the recognition that the security environment in the region is faced with many challenges, and made a decision to further collaborate to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

Duterte and Abe on Thursday pledged to deepen maritime and security cooperation to ensure that both countries would enjoy "more peace, progress and prosperity".

Japan is not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes between China, the Philippines and four other nations, but it is concerned about China's rising military presence in the resource-rich area and busy shipping lane.

Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. Richard Heydarian of the De La Salle University in Manila Political Science department.

Representatives of 24 Japanese companies, among them major corporations, will join Abe in Duterte's native Davao City on Friday for a meeting with Philippine companies.

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