SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Heralding a new age of Philippine-Japanese friendship, Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines His Excellency Koji Haneda celebrated on Tuesday the ascension of Emperor Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Alongside Speaker Arroyo were former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and H.E. Haneda's wife, Iheka Haneda.
The event was also attended by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, and other Filipino and Japanese dignitaries.
In his speech, Secretary Locsin said that the Philippines is one with Japan in looking forward to the Reiwa Era under the new emperor as time of peace and prosperity.
"We share the Japanese people's hope that the Reiwa Era heralds a time of harmony for Japan and our region as we ride the wave of unbridled opportunity from gain and loss," Secretary Locsin said.
He also stated that this new era shall further strengthen bilateral relations as Japan is considered a true ally of the Philippines.
"On the bilateral front, we are confident that the Reiwa Era will impart a stronger impetus to our strategic partnership. Japan has an important place in our pantheon of real friends. It is, in the words of His Excellency President Rodrigo Duterte, 'a friend closer than a brother,'" he said.
Meanwhile, H.E. Haneda said that the robust diplomatic ties of the Philippines and Japan is at its golden age.
"Across the 30 years of the Heisei Era of His Majesty Emperor Emeritus Akihito, the relations between Japan and the Philippines were immensely strengthened. We are now here enjoying the golden age of our strategic partnership," he said.
The Ambassador added that he is confident that the harmonious friendship of the Philippines and Japan will continue as Japan enters its Reiwa Era.
The two countries are already collaborating on new labor initiatives on labor and deepening people to people relations, and have other cooperation projects in the pipeline.
"In the new era of labor, we will engage in our best efforts to further promote stronger ties with the people of the Philippines. We are already witnessing positive developments both at grassroots and high level. Opening of the Consulate General of Japan in Davao this year is expected to enhance people to people exchange between Mindanao and Japan," H.E. Haneda said.
"From here on and down to many future generations, I am convinced that beautiful harmony-the essence of name 'Reiwa'-will flourish in both our countries as we work together with one goal," he said./ Czarina Engracia, News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau