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PIA Press Release

No travel ban against RP, Japanese minister says

By Jeane Duron-Abangan

Panabo City (1 September) -- Japan deputy chief of mission Minister Motohiko Kato has made it clear that the Japanese government is not inclined to issue travel ban against the Philippines despite the hostage-taking incident which raise howl among Hong Kong residents.

Minister Kato bared Japanese government just issued a general guidance among Japanese tourists in the Philippines to closely pay attention to the security situation of the country.

"We are encouraging Japanese people to pay attention to the security situation of this country," he said in an interview with the media after the turning-over ceremony of three units of garbage compactor to the city government of Panabo.

"No travel ban issued? We issued general guidance to Japanese tourists; in every country. In this country, we have to pay attention to the security situation. We issued that kind of general warning to Japanese tourists," Minister Kato explained when further pressed regarding travel ban.

He admitted that the hostage-taking which got HongKong nationals as victims, "was really a shocking incident" but he said the relationship between the Philippines and Japan has remained "very solid."

Meanwhile, Minister Kato bared significant developments of Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) through which Philippine exports of banana and coconut among other product had considerably increased.

"We are very happy to see the improvement in economic relationship between the two countries," he said.

Kato also looked at its grant for Panabo City as part of its effort to sustain good relationship with the Philippines; especially in Mindanao which he said "is a very important area for us" while also citing the city as close to Davao with which Japan has "close relationship."

Amounting to P2.4 million, the three units of garbage compactor were given to city government of Panabo through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) which had been granting assistance to the Philippines since 1989.

Aside from acquiring garbage compactor trucks for Panabo City, the Embassy of Japan also contributed to the expenses incurred in hauling them.

In a press release, the Embassy of Japan revealed assistance from the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy which gave assistance to expenses for converting the trucks from right-hand-drive to left-hand. (PIA-XI) [top]

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