Japan PM Abe set to make historic visit to Davao City

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2017 03:36 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2017 03:37 PM

Japan PM Abe set to make historic visit to Davao City 1
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) is greeted by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan October 26, 2016. Issei Kato, Reuters/File

MANILA – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will discuss counter-terrorism and drug rehabilitation projects, among other topics, with President Rodrigo Duterte during his two-day official visit to the Philippines this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

“President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe are expected to discuss a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, counter-terrorism cooperation, drug rehabilitation projects, infrastructure development, maritime cooperation, and development projects,” the DFA said in a statement.

Abe will be the first head of government to officially visit the Philippines this year, and the highest ranking official to ever visit Davao City, which is home to a large Japanese community, the DFA said.

Abe will be accompanied by his wife, Akie, during the official visit on January 12 to 13.

Abe’s visit reciprocates Duterte’s own trip to Japan last October.

Abe, who first met Duterte at the ASEAN Summit in Laos last September, also personally requested to visit Duterte's home during his three-day visit to the Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella revealed yesterday.

"They have struck a resonant chord between the two of them and apparently, Prime Minister Abe wants to visit the President's house," Abella told reporters.

The Japanese leader will arrive in Manila on Thursday and will be given a dinner at the Malacañang Palace before flying to Davao City on Friday.

Abe's visit comes as Duterte pivots Philippine foreign policy away from its traditional ally, the US. Since he assumed office in mid-2016, he has normalized bilateral ties with China and is expanding relations with Russia.