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Philippines and Japan hold 2nd Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo

MOFA Deputy Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama (1st from left), DFA Undersecretary for Policy Evan P. Garcia (2nd from right), Ambassador Manuel Lopez (3rd from right), and Assistant Secretary Maria Theresa P. Lazaro (1st from right) exchange views at the Strategic Dialogue.

The Philippines and Japan successfully concluded the 2nd Philippines-Japan Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue (VMSD) on 16 July 2015 in Tokyo, discussing a wide range of bilateral, regional, and international issues.

The Philippine delegation was led by Undersecretary for Policy Evan P. Garcia. He was joined by Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez, Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, and other DFA officials.

The Japanese side was led by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shinsuke Sugiyama. He was accompanied by Deputy Director General Kenji Kanasugi, Director Toshio Yamamoto of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department and other MOFA officials. Undersecretary Garcia also met with Vice Minister Akitaka Saiki.

Both sides discussed the robust bilateral relations in the political and economic fronts and the dynamic people-to-people exchanges and sought various ways to enhance them. They also discussed issues of common concern including disaster risk reduction and mitigation, maritime safety, and continuing cooperation in multilateral fora such ASEAN, APEC, and the United Nations among others issues. They also discussed developments in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.

Assistant Secretary Lazaro and Director General Kazuhide Ishikawa of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Departmentalso met right after the 2nd VMSD.This was the first meeting on the level of directors-general to discuss bilateral issues.

Japan is the Philippines’ largest trading partner and source of development assistance. It is also one of its largest sources of investment. The VMSD was convened after the decision of the leaders of both countries in 2011 to elevate the bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership. Japan is one of only two strategic partners of the Philippines.