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Escudero sees early ratification of newly signed defense pact with Japan

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Senate President Francis Escudero has assured Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa of the Upper Chamber’s early ratification of the recently signed Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), a media briefer from the Japanese embassy said.

On Monday, Minister Kamikawa signed on behalf of her country the agreement that establishes procedures for joint activities conducted by Japanese and Philippine forces while visiting each other’s country. The RAA also defines a legal status of the visiting force.

Once ratified, the Japan-Philippines RAA is expected to facilitate the implementation of joint exercises, disaster relief, and other cooperation activities, as well as improve interoperability between the two countries’ forces in these activities.

This was the context in which the third highest ranking Philippine official made the promise of a swift RAA ratification. He said that he would exert every effort to ensure steady progress in a wide range of bilateral cooperation areas, including the RAA.

Minister Kamikawa echoed his sentiment particularly in relation to the upcoming 70th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines in 2026.

During her courtesy call on the Senate President, the Japanese official sought stronger Japan-Philippine cooperation in maritime and economic security through infrastructure development and human and cultural exchange.

She said cooperation maintains and reinforces a free and open rules-based international order.

Relatedly, Japan sees peace in Mindanao as directly related to the stability of the Philippines and important for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

This was expressed by Minister Kamikawa in her discussion with Philippine officials on women, peace, and security, according to a media briefer from the Japanese embassy in Manila.

On July 9, Minister Kamikawa met with Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity; Minister Raissa Jajurie of Bangsamoro Transition Authority’s Ministry of Social Services and Development; and former peace official Professor Miriam Coronel Ferrer of the University of the Philippines.

In that discussion, the Japanese official expressed her wish for Japan to continue supporting socio-economic development from the perspective of women, peace, and security toward the establishment of an autonomous Bangsamoro government next year.

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