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A toast to the Emperor

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Japan is known for its rich history, deep traditions and well-preserved treasures that seamlessly co-exist with its modern-day, tech-driven environment. Such astounding character of the country is evident in its good mix of popular tourist spots such as its majestic shrines and temples tucked away in lush gardens, its tranquil national parks, as well as bustling cities with its towering skyscrapers and bright neon lights.

One Japanese practice that continues to thrive is that of having an emperor. Serving as the symbol of the state and of the unity of its people, locals call him as Tenno Heika or “His Majesty the Emperor,” and not by his name (simply because using it after his coronation is considered disrespectful). While the emperor’s role is limited to ceremonial affairs, he meets with other world leaders too to convey Japan’s ongoing friendship with them and support for their country.

Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella (right) gave their remarks during the National Day of Reception held recently in Makati.

Outside Japan, he is known as the reigning Emperor Akihito whose liberal ideas opened “The Land of the Rising Sun” to the rest of the world.

Ties between Japan and the Philippines were highlighted in a reception that took place this December at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel to celebrate Emperor Akihito’s 85th birthday.

According to Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, “Japan has not wavered in its commitment to support the Philippines in building an efficient and resilient nation, and help bring progress closer to the Filipino people.”

In 2019, initiatives that will be carried out in partnership with Japan include the opening of direct flights between Haneda Airport (Tokyo) and Manila beginning 1 February and the construction of new infrastructure such as the Metro Manila Subway, the North-South Commuter Railway System Extension Project that will link the northern and southern parts of the Greater Manila Area and the Philippine Railway Institute that will train individuals in running and maintaining the country’s railway system as well as providing customer service to the commuters.

AMBASSADOR Koji Haneda

Haneda also took pride in mentioning Japanese-Filipino athletes who are excelling in the world of sports. These include sumo wrestlers Mitakeumi Hisashi and Takayasu Akira and individuals who will be competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo such as Carlos Yulo for gymnastics, Yuka Saso for golf, Kiyomi Watanabe for judo and Junna Tsukii for karate.

Some of the projects recently carried out with Japan’s help include the construction of the newly launched Bohol-Panglao International Airport that runs on eco-friendly technologies, and the opening of direct flights between Manila and Sapporo early this month.

“Japan has been one of our staunchest partners in the effort to realize President Duterte’s 10 point socio-economic agenda,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella.

Present in the reception were other government officials such as Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion III, and Sen. Franklin Drilon and various foreign dignitaries.

Twenty-nine booths were also set up by different Japanese organizations to promote their products and services, as well as prefectures which invite guests to come and visit wonderful attractions in their area.

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