PGMA meets with Japanese prime minister, gets audience with Empress
Manila (18 June) -- A bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and a royal audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan will highlight President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's visit to Japan starting today (Wednesday, June 17).
The four-day working visit will be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss the state of bilateral relations and sustain the momentum for a strategic partnership, especially with the implementation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
Japan is one of the Philippines' major trade and development partners. It remains the country's top export market and the second largest trade market, with total bilateral trade amounting to $14.2 billion. It is also one of the top sources of investment and tourist arrivals in the country.
Japan is also the Philippines' biggest source of official development assistance or ODA. From 1956 to 2006, Japanese ODA - in the form of yen loans, grant aid technical cooperation - amounted to $11.04 billion. Japan is also actively engaged in Mindanao, especially in the reconstruction and development of conflict-affected communities. (PIA) [top]