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Japan's new foreign minister visits Manila - DFA

Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida. AFP FILE PHOTO
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Just a couple of weeks after the new right-wing Japanese government was installed in December, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will be in Manila from January 9 to 10, 2013 for an official visit, it was learned Tuesday.

This will be Kishida’s first overseas trip since his appointment as foreign minister by Japan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on December 26, 2012, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a news release.

The Japanese foreign minister is scheduled to meet with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional issues and the foreign policy priorities of the new Japanese leadership.

Earlier in December, before Prime Minister Abe took office, del Rosario said he favors a "stronger Japan" to shift the balance of power in Southeast Asian that is now dominated by China amid territorial disputes with several countries in the region.

Abe's rise to power signals a major shift in the pacifist country, including the possibility of changing its constitution which limits its military operations to defense. The pacifist Japanese constitution came after Japan's failed and catastrophic imperial expansion in the Pacific region.

Kishida is also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The visit is an opportunity for both countries to advance the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership under the new Japanese administration. Japan is one of only two strategic partners of the Philippines and is one of the most important economic partners in terms of trade, investments, and development assistance, the DFA said.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries was established in July 23, 1956, the DFA added.