Duterte formally cancels Japan trip to focus on Marawi

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2017 11:19 AM | Updated as of Jun 01 2017 02:01 AM

MANILA – Malacanang said President Rodrigo Duterte has formally cancelled his trip to Japan scheduled June, as the government deals with the crisis in Marawi City brought by local terrorists.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Department of Foreign Affairs has informed its Japanese counterpart that Duterte would not be able to attend the 23rd Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia next month.

Abella said the decision was arrived at due to the recent developments in Marawi and Mindanao which require the President’s “undivided time and attention.”

He said, both sides have agreed that a visit of the Filipino leader to Japan “could be rescheduled in the future.”

“The lines of communication between the DFA and its Japanese counterpart remain open and active in this regard,” Abella said.

Duterte visited Japan in October last year, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Philippines in January.

Duterte has regarded Japan as a close ally, even as he has chosen to seek improved ties with Tokyo’s rival Beijing.

The President had to cut short his trip to Russia last week to attend to the Marawi crisis, which has left over 100 people – mostly terrorists – dead.