"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Japan-Philippines Joint Statement on the Comprehensive Promotion of the "Strategic Partnership" between Neighboring Countries Connected by Special Bonds of Friendship

[Date] September 27, 2011
[Source] Prime Minister of JAPAN and His Cabinet
[Full text]

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the invitation of the Government of Japan, paid an Official Working Visit to Japan from 25 to 28 September 2011. President Aquino paid a State Call on His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and visited Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, a disaster-affected area of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

His Excellency Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan, and President Aquino held a productive first Summit Meeting in a cordial, forward-looking and constructive atmosphere. Sharing the recognition that relations between Japan and the Philippines, as two maritime countries bound by shared basic values and common strategic interests, have developed into "Strategic Partnership", the two leaders issued the following Joint Statement:

1. Prime Minister Noda expressed his profound gratitude for the provision of emergency relief supplies and the dispatch of a medical assistance team by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to disaster-affected areas in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Facing this unprecedented national crisis, he stressed his determination to make utmost efforts for a reconstruction open to the world, while strengthening the "Kizuna" -bonds of friendship- with the international community and "taking in the vitality" of foreign countries. He also stated that Japan will share the experiences and lessons learnt from the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station with the international community and thereby contribute to enhancing global nuclear safety. In response, President Aquino reiterated his condolences to the victims of the earthquake and their families, and reaffirmed the Republic of the Philippines' readiness to extend further assistance within its capacity, emphasizing such support is a testament to the Filipino people's friendship and solidarity with the Japanese people. President Aquino expressed his confidence that Japan will recover soon and continue to play an active role in the international community.

2. President Aquino conveyed an invitation for Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family of Japan to visit the Philippines, at a mutually-convenient opportunity. Expressing his gratitude for the warm hospitality extended by the Government of Japan, President Aquino invited Prime Minister Noda to visit the Republic of the Philippines in 2012 at an opportunity convenient to both sides. Prime Minister Noda expressed his gratitude for the invitation.

3. The two leaders reconfirmed that the two countries share such basic values as freedom, democracy, fundamental human rights and the rule of law, they have developed together as free and dynamic market economies, and they have such common strategic interests as ensuring the safety of sea lines of communication. The two leaders also shared the view that, based on the friendly and cooperative relationship that has been fostered for more than half a century since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1956, the two countries will cooperate not only for strengthening the bilateral relations but also for fostering the open and multi-layered network, which serves for sharing common vision and principles, as well as the possible establishment of rules in the Asia Pacific region, composed of existing frameworks of regional cooperation. The two leaders confirmed that both governments have elevated their bilateral relations to a "Strategic Partnership."

4. The two leaders shared the view that Japan and the Republic of the Philippines, as neighboring countries connected by special bonds of friendship, will promote the following concrete forms of cooperation in a comprehensive manner in order to further reinforce the "Strategic Partnership."

(1) Maintaining and strengthening high-level bilateral relations

( i ) Mutually beneficial cooperation in economic field

The two leaders expressed satisfaction that Japan and the Republic of Philippines enjoy dynamic and mutually-beneficial economic relations including robust trade, investments and development cooperation. Prime Minister Noda stated that taking in the vitality of Asian countries, including the Republic of the Philippines, which are developing dynamically and sustainably, is essential for Japan's economic growth. President Aquino welcomed Japan's policy to strengthen economic relations with Asian countries. The two leaders shared the view that it is important to further deepen the close economic relations between the two countries.

(Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement)

The two leaders welcomed the smooth implementation and operation of the Agreement between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines for an Economic Partnership (JPEPA). They welcomed the convening of the Joint Committee and Sub-Committees established under the Agreement, including the recent meeting of the Sub-Committee on the Improvement of the Business Environment held in Manila on 15 September. They confirmed the importance of continuing dialogues with Japanese business groups, to further promote investment. Furthermore, the two leaders recognized that the promotion of the movement of natural persons under the Agreement will serve the two countries' interests, and decided to continue consultations in order to further improve the current situation including the smooth dispatch and acceptance of Filipino candidates for qualified nurses and certified careworkers. President Aquino expressed his gratitude for various measures taken by the Government of Japan to support Filipino candidates such as introducing Japanese language training before their dispatch to Japan, and welcomed ongoing cooperation between the two Governments in this regard. President Aquino emphasized the importance of increasing the passing rates of Filipino nurses in the Japanese National Examination for nurses. The two leaders confirmed that both Governments will cooperate towards a successful first General Review of the Agreement pursuant to Article 161 of the Agreement, to maximize mutual benefit.

(Promotion and enhancement of investment)

The two leaders confirmed the importance of improving the business environment and further promoting investment between the two countries. President Aquino affirmed his Administration's commitment to promoting good and accountable governance and the improvement of the business environment, including continually enhancing administrative transparency and predictability. Prime Minister Noda expressed his high appreciation for the efforts by President Aquino.

President Aquino requested Japan's support for his Administration's Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, which prioritizes infrastructure and development projects, in furtherance of the "Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016." In response, Prime Minister Noda stated that Japan will support the improvement of the investment environment through the active utilization of Official Development Assistance (ODA), and thereby promote private investment and contribute to the development of the Republic of the Philippines. In this regard, he announced that Japan will dispatch a public-private mission to the Republic of the Philippines by March 2012 and hold a seminar in Manila which will contribute to the improvement and development of infrastructure in the country.

The two leaders also stressed the importance of the exchange and cooperation between business groups such as the Japan-Philippines Economic Joint Committee in advancing infrastructure development to encourage investments. The two leaders confirmed the importance of the timely conclusion of the Republic of Philippines' ongoing process with regard to the Japanese terrestrial digital TV broadcasting system.

(Continuation of economic cooperation)

President Aquino expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the support that Japan, as the top donor country to the Republic of the Philippines, has extended for poverty reduction and economic development in the Republic of the Philippines. In response, Prime Minister Noda stated that Japan will continue its assistance to the Republic of the Philippines as an important ODA target country. The two leaders also emphasized the importance of the Japanese ODA loan project "Forestland Management Project" for disaster management as well as addressing climate change, and welcomed the signing and exchange of notes for the project that took place today. The two leaders welcomed the entry into force on 8 April this year of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

The two leaders also decided to continue to promote maritime connectivity in the Republic of the Philippines and its surrounding area through their support for the "Maritime ASEAN Economic Corridor", the initiatives to contribute to the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), and cooperation under the framework of the Japan-BIMP/EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area), while coordinating with the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan (CADP) formulated by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

(Disaster prevention and management)

The two leaders confirmed that bilateral cooperation in the field of disaster prevention and management has been strengthened based on the sharing of experiences and lessons accumulated by the two countries. Expressing his appreciation for Japan's assistance for the enhancement of the disaster prevention capability of the Republic of the Philippines, President Aquino stated that the Republic of the Philippines will steadily implement ongoing projects such as the yen-loan project "Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project Phase II" and the grant aid "Project for Improvement of the Meteorological Radar System." The two leaders also confirmed that the two countries will further improve disaster management capabilities through grant aid projects such as the "Project for Evacuation Shelter Construction in Disaster Vulnerable Areas in Province of Albay," and share expertise and experiences in disaster prevention through technical cooperation projects such as the "Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Capability Enhancement Project."

(Environment and climate change)

President Aquino renewed his appreciation for Japan's continuous assistance for the climate change mitigation and adaptation measures of the Republic of the Philippines, as demonstrated by the grant aid "Project for the Introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation System" and the "Programme for the Improvement of Capabilities to cope with Natural Disasters Caused by Climate Change", which were implemented as Japan's assistance for developing countries to address climate change up to 2012. The two leaders decided to continue their close cooperation in the field of environment and climate change.

( ii ) Mutual trust in Political and Security aspects

(Convening of multi-layered policy dialogues)

The two leaders decided that the two countries will continue to frequently hold high-level dialogues by utilizing opportunities afforded by regional and multilateral meetings. They also decided to upgrade the existing Vice-Ministerial Policy Dialogue to a Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue, to promote discussions and cooperation on regional and global issues of mutual concern and interest, such as maritime issues, countermeasures against terrorism and international organized crimes, the reform of the United Nations (UN), disarmament and non-proliferation, and environment and climate change. They also decided to hold the fifth Japan-Philippines Political-Military (PM) and Military-Military (MM) Dialogues in the Republic of the Philippines in the first half of 2012.

(Cooperation in the field of maritime affairs)

The two leaders reaffirmed the necessity of strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of maritime affairs between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines, being two maritime countries sharing sea lines of communication. They shared the recognition that piracy off the coast of Somalia is a serious threat to maritime security and the safety of maritime navigation. President Aquino expressed his gratitude for the escort operations by the Japan Self Defense Forces with Japan Coast Guard officers aboard, off the coast of Somalia, which benefit Filipino seafarers on board ships plying the area. The two leaders also welcomed the important role that the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) has played in combating piracy in Asia.

The two leaders welcomed the first Japan-Philippines Dialogue on Maritime and Oceanic Affairs held on 9 September 2011, and decided to enhance the cooperation and coordination between their maritime safety authorities through such measures as the dispatch of patrol vessels of the Japan Coast Guard to the Republic of the Philippines for trainings for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) based on mutual consent and the support for the capacity building of the PCG. They also decided to promote exchanges and cooperation between their defense authorities, such as reciprocal visits between the Chief of Staff of Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF) and the Flag Officer of the Philippine Navy, port calls in the Republic of the Philippines by JMSDF vessels, and the holding of the Japan-Philippines Maritime Chief of Staff Meeting.

(Peace in Mindanao)

The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of peace in Mindanao for regional security and stability. President Aquino underscored his Administration's commitment to securing peace in Mindanao, and expressed his gratitude to the Government of Japan for its continued contribution to the Mindanao peace process. In this regard, the President thanked Japan for its assistance in facilitating his meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leadership in Japan on 4 August 2011, which pushed the peace process forward. In response, Prime Minister Noda stated that the Government of Japan will continue to send development experts to the International Monitoring Team (IMT), to implement J-BIRD projects, to contribute through the International Contact Group (ICG), and to conduct the Mindanao Young Leaders Invitational Program, among others. He also stated that, with regard to J-BIRD projects, Japan will adopt two technical cooperation projects, "Rice-based Farming Technology Extension Project for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)" and "Capacity-Building in Support of the Community Development for Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao", which were requested by the Republic of the Philippines. President Aquino expressed his appreciation.

( iii ) Mutual understanding at the people-to-people level

(Tourism exchange)

Noting that there are over 210,000 nationals of the Republic of the Philippines living in Japan and that Filipinos constitute the fourth biggest group of foreign residents therein, the two leaders decided to further expand people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, through the promotion of reciprocal tourism in order to strengthen "Kizuna" -the bonds of friendship-. Prime Minister Noda thanked President Aquino for his visit to disaster-affected areas, which demonstrated the safety of travel to Japan even after the earthquake. The two leaders welcomed the efforts of the Government of Japan to promote Philippine nationals' visits to Japan, including the participation by the Embassy of Japan in tourism exhibitions in the Republic of the Philippines.

(Youth exchange)

The two leaders shared the view that supporting exchanges between their peoples, especially young people who will be leaders of the next generation, is essential for ensuring stable bilateral relations between the two countries, in the future. President Aquino expressed his appreciation for the role that the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) program and the Ship for South East Asia Youth Program (SSEAYP) have played in achieving this goal, and expressed his hope for their continuation. Prime Minister Noda responded with his willingness to continue youth exchange programs. He said that Japan will invite 400 Filipino college students to Japan as "Philippine-Tohoku Goodwill Ambassadors" who will join exchange programs with college students, among others, in disaster-affected areas.

(2) Contribution to the regional and international community Prime Minister Noda stated that Japan and the Japan-U.S. Alliance have played an essential role to maintain the stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and President Aquino welcomed it. The two leaders shared the recognition that, as countries sharing strategic interests in the region and as allies of the United States of America, their active participation in regional cooperation frameworks such as Japan-ASEAN meetings, ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is imperative for realizing a prosperous and stable Asia. Especially with regard to EAS, they confirmed that they will closely cooperate with each other in the run-up to the Summit in November this year for the further development of this Forum.

(Maritime security)

President Aquino affirmed the Philippines' commitment to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and to the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes over the South China Sea, while stressing the need for a rules-based regime for addressing and resolving disputes and promoting cooperation. The two leaders welcomed the adoption of the Guidelines for the Implementation of the DOC and expressed their hope for the early formulation of a legally-binding Code of Conduct (COC) that is consistent with established international law.

The two leaders confirmed that the South China Sea is vital, as it connects the world and the Asia Pacific region, and that peace and stability therein is of common interest to the international community. As leaders of countries sharing sea lines of communication, they also confirmed that freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and compliance with established international law including the UNCLOS and the peaceful settlement of disputes serve the interests of the two countries and the whole region. They shared the recognition that these same interests should also be advanced and protected in the South China Sea.

(Promotion of regional economic integration)

In order to promote the regional economic integration, the two leaders decided to further enhance common economic rules. In this regard, the two leaders expressed their hope for the further reinforcement of the economic relationship between Japan and ASEAN member states, through the early conclusion of the negotiations on the chapters relating to trade in services and investment, as well as by steadily implementing the Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership among Japan and Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AJCEP). The two leaders stated their support for the acceleration of the inter-governmental study process and work towards commencing the negotiations of the East Asian Free Trade Area (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA).

(Regional cooperation on disaster prevention)

President Aquino commended the Government of Japan's efforts to contribute to the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) and affirmed the importance of sharing expertise on disaster prevention between Japan and ASEAN Member States, and of establishing an ASEAN-wide information-sharing network regarding Disaster Management Network for the ASEAN Region with a view to enhancing regional capabilities for the prevention of disasters including Tsunami. Prime Minister Noda stated that the Government of Japan, based on the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake, will hold an international high-level conference on natural disaster in 2012 and will host the Third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015. President Aquino welcomed Japan's hosting of these important events.

(The Korean Peninsula)

The two leaders expressed their grave concern over the continued development of nuclear and missile programs of North Korea, including its ongoing uranium enrichment program, as being in violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. They reiterated their commitment to fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. They urged North Korea to fulfill its commitments and comply with its international obligations, including its denuclearization. The two leaders also urged North Korea to promptly address humanitarian concerns of the international community, such as the abduction issue. In this context, they reaffirmed the importance of concrete actions to develop an environment conducive to the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, while expressing support for inter-Korean dialogue as a continuing process.

(Climate change negotiations)

The two leaders confirmed the importance of establishing a fair and effective international framework with the participation of all major economies based on the Canc?n Agreements and through a transparent and inclusive process. The two leaders decided to work together constructively for the success of the 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) meeting which will be held in the Republic of South Africa from 28 November to 9 December this year. Prime Minister Noda renewed Japan's willingness to promote the East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership and to work with the Republic of Philippines in achieving the objectives of the Partnership, to which President Aquino expressed his support.

(UN Security Council reform)

The two leaders confirmed the importance of the two countries' joint efforts to achieve the early realization of UN Security Council reform, which would include the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats. President Aquino reaffirmed his firm support for Japan's bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council, to which Prime Minister Noda expressed his appreciation.

(UN Peacekeeping Operations)

The two leaders expressed satisfaction that the two countries have actively participated in UN Peacekeeping Operations in order to contribute to peace and stability of the international community, and reaffirmed that the two countries will promote cooperation and support on the ground. They also shared the importance of enhancing the capacity of personnel in the field of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Issued in Tokyo, 27 September 2011

Yoshihiko Noda

Prime Minister of Japan

Benigno S. Aquino III

President of the Republic of the Philippines