Japan commits to 'give flesh' to 1T yen pledge to PH

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(L-R) Duterte, Abe

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines. October 31) — Japan said it was committed to delivering on its one trillion yen or roughly P456 billion pledge to the country.

This, according to both President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in their remarks during the joint press event for the signing of the Exchange of Notes on Yen Loan for the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project Monday in Tokyo.

Duterte said it was fitting that after the liberation of Marawi he visited Japan which has always stood by the Philippines in its "advance [to] greater peace, progress, and prosperity."

Duterte described the discussions with Abe as "very warm, open and, comprehensive."

He added, "I am pleased with Japan's reiteration that it is fully committed to - as he described it - 'give flesh' to the 1 trillion yen or close to nine billion dollars pledge [of] assistance to the Philippines."

Duterte said the amount would cover the infrastructure projects the country would need "to sustain and spur our economic growth."

The President also thanked Japan for supporting the country's efforts to "bring just and lasting peace in Mindanao," and for already participating in the reconstruction of Marawi.

Abe, meanwhile, said it was an honor to welcome his "dear friend" Duterte to Japan. He said given their close friendship, they were able to discuss issues in a "frank and candid manner."

The Prime Minister said he was lending his full support to Duterte's approaches in the fight against terrorism as well as ensuring stability in Mindanao, as well as "provide maximum support for the restoration and reconstruction of Marawi City and we will strengthen support for Mindanao and toward the establishment of an autonomous government, we will respond to the progress of processing."

Abe said they announced the Joint Statement "which embodies and spells out in concrete terms the private and public contribution to the tune of 1 trillion yen in the next five years which was announced initially this year when I visited the Philippines."

The document signed during the joint press event was the Exchange of Notes on Yen Loan for the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project.

Among the other topics discussed Monday between the two leaders were increased cooperation in law and order, trade, and issues concerning North Korea.

Abe said, "We will steadily implement the medium to long term action plans related to illegal drugs counter measures and also as measures for maritime safety; and also terrorism and security measures we will proceed with cooperation to enhance coastal surveillance capacity building. And we will further provide support to strengthen safety in Sulu and Celebes Seas and other parts of the region."

Duterte meanwhile said, "Both sides agreed to ramp up further economic activities. We welcome the increasing investments from Japan in the Philippines and we are ready to work with responsible companies which we consider our new partners for growth."

Both leaders condemned North Korea's nuclear tests and asked all concerned stakeholders "to return to the negotiating table to peacefully resolve the situation."

Productive discussions

Regional security and trade were among the key issues Duterte wished to discuss on his two-day working visit to Japan.

In a speech before his departure Sunday, Duterte said he wanted to "significantly advance" the country's partnership with Japan "especially on matters involving socio-economic development, peace and progress in Mindanao, and the build-up of modern infrastructures in our country."

Duterte also said the nuclear war threats of North Korea's Kim Jong Un would be discussed.

"A nuclear war is totally unacceptable to everybody. And somebody has to talk to Kim Jong Un," Duterte said.

READ: Duterte: Someone needs to reach out to Kim Jong Un

"It would be good if America, Japan, Korea, and Mr. Kim Jong Un  talk and to convince him to sit down on a round table and just tell him that nobody's threatening him, that there will be no war, and that if he can just tone down or stand down, stop the threats, and that would be the same for America," he said prior to his departure to Japan for a working visit.

RELATED: Duterte on Japan: 'Closer than brother'

Human rights group: Japan visit should not be "business-as-usual"

In a statement on Friday (Oct. 29), Human Rights Watch Asia Deputy Director Phelim Kine said Duterte's visit to Japan should not be "business-as-usual," adding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should "publicly call on Duterte to end 'drug war' killings and take steps toward meaningful accountability for those deaths."

"Abe should recognize that the human rights calamity that Duterte has inflicted on the Philippines should be met with a concerted response from partners of the Philippines, including Japan, who value universal human rights and rule of law," Kine said.

Kine added aside from "decrying Duterte's killing campaign," the Japanese Prime Minister should also demonstrate support for a United Nations-led investigation on the deaths related to the drug war.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent David Santos and Digital Producer Yvette Morales contributed to this report.