President Aquino arrives in Japan

TOKYO, Japan, June 24 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here Tuesday for a one-day working visit to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and address a peace forum relevant to the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

Philippine Airlines Flight PR001, which carried President Aquino and his delegation, touched down at 11:04 a.m. (Japan time) at the Tokyo Haneda International Airport, where Philippine Embassy officials led by Charge d’ Affaires Gilberto G.B. Asuque welcomed him.

President Aquino headed straight to the Old Prime Minister’s Residence for a 20-minute summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe that will be followed by a working lunch to be hosted by the Japanese head of state.

Joining President Aquino in the expanded bilateral talks are Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Secretary Julia Abad of the Presidential Management Staff, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asia Pacific Affairs Minda Cruz, Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Delantar, Jr., and interpreter Mariko Nagai.

Prime Minister Abe, on the other hand, will have by his side Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama, Foreign Affairs Ministry director-general for Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Kazuhide Ishikawa, Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobukatsu Kanehara, Executive Secretaries to the Prime Minister Naoya Imai and Hiroshi Suzuki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs director for Second Southeast Asia Division Naoki Kumagai, and an interpreter.

During their meeting, President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe are expected to exchange views on recent regional developments as well as discuss areas of cooperation that would enhance the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

These areas of cooperation include humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime cooperation, promotion of trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges, and the Mindanao peace process.

The two leaders will issue a joint press statement before the members of the media prior to President Aquino’s departure for a speaking engagement in Hiroshima.

The President will then proceed to the Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel to address the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference, which was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the University Sains Malaysia.

To wrap up his trip to Japan, President Aquino will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where he will lay a floral wreath and offer a moment of silence and prayers for the victims of World War II. He will then head back to Manila. (PNA)