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PIA Press Release

PGMA gets warm welcome from Japanese royalty

Manila (19 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received a warm welcome Thursday from Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at their Imperial Palacein Tokyo, Japan.

The official reception for the Filipino leader marked the first official activity of the President's four-day working visit to Japan.

The President and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo arrived at 10:30 a.m. at the Imperial Palace and were welcomed in simple rites by the Japanese royal couple.

The guests and the hosts greeted each other with the traditional Japanese bow, after which they shook hands and went inside the palace.

President Arroyo's visit to the Japanese Imperial Palace and Royal Family was her seventh since 1962 when her father, the late President Diosdado was then President of the Philippines.

She had her audience with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during her first working visit to Japan as President in September 2001, and again during her state visit in December 2002.

The President thanked the Japanese royal family for the warm reception and their country's hospitality for around 220,000 Filipinos working in Japan that include nurses, caregivers and seafarers.

Philippines-Japan relations have progressively grown stronger over the years since the end of the Pacific War.

Japan is the Philippines' second largest trading partner, top export market for its goods, fifth largest source of foreign investments, third biggest source of tourists and the biggest source of the country's official development assistance (ODA) accounting 60 percent of its total ODA.

The Philippines likewise hosts a good number of big-ticket Japanese investments and around 20,000 Japanese nationals who live in the country.

After their brief meeting, the Philippines' First Couple bid the Japanese royalty farewell for the President's next engagement -- the executive committee meeting of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) at the Sky Room of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry building.

Following her address before the JCCI, the President was hosted to a Welcome Tea by the Japanese parliamentarians and members of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarian Friendship League (JPPFL) at the Fuji Room of the Imperial Hotel where the Philippine official delegation is billeted.

Thursday evening, the President is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taro Aso and witness the signing of several agreements at the Big Conference Room of the Kantei, the Prime Minister's Office.

The President wraps her day with an official dinner tendered in her honor by Prime Minister Aso at the Big Hall of Kantei. (PNA) [top]

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