Japan mulls sending $1.6 billion aid to Philippines for infrastructure
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan is considering providing annually more than 200 billion yen ($1.6 billion) in aid to the Philippines for its infrastructure development, government sources said Thursday, with the two countries trying to bolster their economic ties.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is also planning to agree with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is slated to visit Japan next week, to boost security cooperation amid China's growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, the sources said.
Tokyo and Manila, which have maintained friendly relations in recent years, have been joining hands in the security and economic fields as the two nations have been locked in territorial spats with Beijing in the South and East China seas.
After Kishida and Marcos, both of whom have also expressed eagerness to deepen security ties with the United States, hold a meeting in Tokyo next Thursday, a joint press statement is expected to released, according to the sources.
On the bilateral front, the two leaders are likely to confirm that the two countries will continue their security dialogue involving their defense and foreign ministers, which was first held in April 2022, the sources said, with an eye on future joint drills.
In 2017, Japan agreed with the Philippines, under then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and then President Rodrigo Duterte, that Tokyo would offer a 1 trillion yen aid package to Manila.
But the duration of the aid, aimed at supporting infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian nation, was five years. On an annual basis, the latest planned assistance worth over 200 billion yen would be larger than the previous financial package.
The new aid package to the Philippines, centering on official development assistance, would be supplied within less than five years, the sources said.
Marcos, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with Kishida at a time when Tokyo and Manila are arranging the deportation of four Japanese suspects believed to be behind a string of robberies across Japan.