MANILA (Mabuhay) – Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are scheduled to pay a state visit to the Philippines in January, Malacañang said on Friday.
In a text message to Palace reporters, presidential spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda said the state visit would be from January 26 to 30.
“The state visit is in response to President Benigno Aquino III’s long-standing invitation for Their Majesties to visit the Philippines,” Lacierda said.
“Their Majesties last visited the Philippines in 1962 when they were then Crown Prince and Princess,” he added.
The state visit’s highlight will be the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Japan in 2016.
Lacierda said the visit is expected to “deepen and expand bilateral relations.”
“The Philippine government and the Filipino people look forward to welcoming Their Majesties,” Lacierda said.
At the sidelines of the APEC Summit last month, Aquino held a bilateral meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
During the meeting, Aquino asked from Japan large patrol vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard.
The Philippines and Japan have an existing strategic partnership agreement – Manila’s second after the United States – that aims to bolster the cooperation between the two countries on several fronts, including defense and maritime security.(MNS)