MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte might not have had the chance to meet Japanese Emperor Naruhito during his recent trip to Japan but said that it would be a "great honor" for the Philippines to receive him in the future, MalacaAang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte made this remark during his bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this week.
The President likewise conveyed the best wishes of the Filipino people to Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the throne adding that it would be a great honor for our country to receive Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in the Philippines in the future, said Panelo in a statement.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V said Duterte would not be able to meet the emperor because of protocols and traditions.
Naruhito was named Emperor after his father Akihito ended his three-decade reign on April 30. He will formally ascend to the throne in a ceremony on October 22.
Panelo, meanwhile, described the meeting between Duterte and Abe as productive and fruitful as both of them considered each other as a friend.
Prime Minister Abe gave a heartfelt welcome to President Duterte, who he considers as his special friend, at the Prime Minister's Office in the Akasaka State Guest House, Panelo said.
Prime Minister Abe expressed great delight to see the Filipino Chief Executive whom he last met in November of last year, he added.
Abe also congratulated Duterte for the overwhelming victory of administration-backed candidates in the midterm elections and extended his birthday greeting and best wishes to the presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, whose birthday fell on the day of the Summit meeting, May 31.
The Japanese leader also mentioned that he looks forward to a fruitful exchange of views with the President on various issues of mutual concern and interest, including assistance on the Mindanao peace process and infrastructure development in the Philippines.
Duterte, for his part, expressed his sympathy over the mass stabbing incident in Kawasaki and support as Japan works to bring justice to the victims.
The Philippine President also described Japan as a valued ally for peace, development and the rule of law.
Duterte also pointed out that Philippines-Japan relations has an exemplary partnership built on years of mutual trust and respect. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency