Philippines and Japan ought to cooperate for peace, prosperity
To preserve the stability and prosperity of Asia, the relationship of “strategic partnership cooperation” should be enhanced between Japan and the Philippines.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has made a state visit to Japan, having summit talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday. The two leaders agreed to further strengthen bilateral security cooperation and start negotiations to conclude an accord on the transfer of Japan’s defense equipment and technology to the Philippines. Japan is also poised to speed up the process of providing the Philippine Coast Guard with 10 patrol vessels.
Regarding China’s reclamation activities of rock reefs in the South China Sea, a joint declaration was issued at the close of the Abe-Aquino talks, stating the two countries “share serious concern on unilateral actions to change the status quo.”
To place a curb on Beijing’s selfrighteous actions, it is urgently needed for all Southeast Asian countries concerned to improve their maritime security capabilities to step up warning and surveillance activities.
In late May, the government agreed with Malaysia to launch negotiations for the transfer of defense equipment and technology. While closely working with the United States, it is important for Japan to facilitate joint training and exercises as well as defense information exchanges with the military of other countries concerned.
In the economic sphere, the two leaders reached an agreement on cooperation for the Philippines’ transportation infrastructure development, including a project worth 300 billion yen to construct a commuter railway network in the metropolitan area of Manila.
Japan is the Philippines’ largest trading partner. Japan is also the only country with which the Philippines has concluded an Economic Partnership Agreement. Cooperation with the Philippines, which has high growth potential and a large workforce, can bring about plenty of advantages for Japan. Tokyo should expand economic cooperation with Manila, including ties through
Good Example of Reconciliation
In World War II, the Philippines was one of the fiercest battlefields. The war in the Philippines is said to have claimed the lives of about 1.1 million people. The latest joint declaration emphasized that the two countries have attained a “remarkable achievement in overcoming issues of the past,” and have “successfully constructed one of the strongest relationships in Asia.” This can be said to be a monumentally important example of postwar “reconciliation.”
In reference to Japan’s postwar influence in his speech before the House of Councillors on Wednesday, Aquino said: “For over two generations, Japan’s commitment to peace has been beyond question. So has its commitment ... to creating a more equitably progressive world order.”
During a state banquet on Wednesday at the Imperial Palace, Aquino said, “The pain and tragedy of the past have been healed by Japan’s commitment to a relationship based on mutual respect, dignity and solidarity.”
Japan has so far extended a total of about 3 trillion yen in official development assistance to the Philippines and has dispatched more than 1,500 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers there in total. Both the ODA and JOCV activities have significantly contributed to the Philippines’ recovery from the war and to subsequent development.
It may safely be said that Japan’s posture to respect the independent judgment of an aid recipient country and seek establishment of a framework of cooperation on an equal footing has succeeded thanks to the generosity of spirit of the Philippines’ government and people.
Aquino has evaluated highly and expressed his support for the Abe administration’s security-related package of bills now being deliberated on in the Diet and the “proactive contribution to peace” principle.
Japan, in addition to making efforts for early security legislation, should play a larger role than before for securing the peace of Asia as a whole. This is an editorial published by The Yomiuri Shimbun on June 6.