Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will visit the Philippines starting today, Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Friday.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had invited Kono for an official visit to the country from Feb. 9 to 11.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Elmer Cato said Kono will meet with Locsin in Davao on Sunday for a bilateral discussion on the areas of mutual interest including political, economic and people-to-people engagement.
Cato said the two officials will also tackle Japan’s support for infrastructure development in Mindanao in the wake of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
While in Davao, Kono will call on President Rodrigo Duterte and meet with Cabinet officials. He will also grace the inauguration of the Japanese Consulate General in Davao.
Japan played an active role in the construction of the recently-inaugurated Bohol-Panglao Airport and the Metro Manila Subway System project.
In Mindanao, Tokyo plans to modify its support for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro Transition Authority, a governing body that will be in place during the transition period toward the Bangsamoro government’s creation in 2022.
In a statement, Cato said Kono’s trip to Davao was “a testament to the strengthened strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan, and an affirmation of our long-standing bilateral friendship.”
Kono had his international debut as Japan’s foreign minister at the 50th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila in August 2017.
During his first trip to the Philippines as a ranking ministry official, Kono called on Duterte at the Philippine International Convention Center.