Press Release
June 21, 2016

Drilon lauds strong PHL-Japan relations

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon thanked the Japanese government for honoring the late President Elpidio Quirino with a memorial at the Hibiya Park in Tokyo, Japan, which is a testament to the strong Philippine and Japanese relations.

Drilon was in Tokyo, Japan over the weekend to lead the unveiling of the memorial to President Elpidio Quirino in Hibiya Park, and the Philippine Festival 2016, which were attended by Filipino and Japanese officials, and members of the Filipino community in Japan.

"This is a testament to the deep relationship between the Philippines and Japan, a relationship that thrives on trust, respect, and understanding," Drilon emphasized.

Drilon called the unveiling of the memorial to the President Elpidio Quirino in Hibiya Park "a milestone in Philippine-Japan relations."

This year, the Philippines and Japan will mark 60 years of normalization of diplomatic relations.

The Senate chief stressed that it was President Quirino's "merciful act that paved the way for the healthy and productive relations that the Philippines and Japan have today."

It was the late President Quirino who ordered the release of Japanese prisoners of war amid much controversy and criticism.

"It was President Quirino's act of forgiveness that made it easy for the Filipino nation to heal and move on," Drilon said.

He then recalled that during a personal audience with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 2004, the royal couple shared how they were warmly received by Filipinos during their first visit to the country in 1962 - less than two decades after WWII ended, which gave them a deeper understanding and appreciation for Filipinos.

"Healing only comes when forgiveness replaces anger in the hearts of the people," he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate leader encouraged the around 200,000 Filipinos in Japan to maintain the trust and good recognition held by the Japanese for the Filipino people.

Noting that Filipinos are now the 3rd largest ethnic group in Japan, Drilon urged Filipinos to build upon the good name of Filipinos in Japan.

He asked them to continue to "work hard so that the respect, trust and recognition that we have earned as a people here in Japan will grow over the years."

Drilon also thanked them for their growing contributions to the nation even while in foreign lands.

He said that the country expects the total OFW remittances to reach $25 billion this year. For years now, OFW remittances have been the main driver of growth, he noted.

Drilon also praised them for not forgetting their roots, even if they are working and living abroad.

"I know that even if you are now citizens of another nation, you are Filipinos in heart, thought and deed. Our law says that you remain Filipinos in all aspects of life, do not forget that," he said, referring to the Dual Citizenship Act (RA 9225) that allows dual citizenship to Filipinos who chose another nationality, which he authored.

Drilon said he is particularly pleased to note the high degree of interest, involvement and enthusiasm shown by the Filipino community in Japan in the last elections, where he topped the senatorial race.

"The very active participation of volunteers during the election is a very good sign of the rekindling of the love for our country by Filipinos here in Japan," he concluded.

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