Japan PM announces visa exemption for PH gov’t officials

February 10, 2023 People's Tonight 91 views

JAPAN is extending visa exemption “mainly for Philippine government officials” as Tokyo and Manila seek to strengthen people-to-people exchanges.

The announcement was made by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his summit meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Feb. 9, according to a press readout by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Prime Minister Kishida announced visa exemption mainly for Philippine government officials. President Marcos welcomed Japan’s announcement and expressed his hope to build upon this momentum to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges between the two countries,” the readout said.

The Japanese side has yet to provide details on the new policy.

The two nations sought to bolster bilateral relations during Marcos’ ongoing official visit to Japan, securing a flurry of agreements that span from defense and security, agriculture, economy, and development cooperation, among others.

This is Marcos’ maiden visit to Japan as President.

In other areas of cooperation, Kishida also cited how the Japanese and Philippine authorities partnered amid the “widespread robbery and fraud cases in Japan”, an apparent reference to the Luffy case.

Before Marcos, Kishida asked the Philippines for “continued collaboration between authorities”.

The four suspects in the violent robberies in Japan, one of which resulted in the death of a 90-year-old woman, were deported this week.

Yuki Watanabe, the suspected mastermind who goes by the alias “Luffy,” had allegedly directed the break-ins in Japan using an encrypted messaging application while detained at a Manila immigration facility.

The swift deportation came less than two weeks after the Japanese Embassy in Manila made the request on Jan. 30. Philippine News Agency