Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.
This is my first opportunity to visit this historic site. I am deeply honored to join you here on this day.
Seventy three years have passed since the fall of Bataan. Standing here today at the Mt. Samat Memorial Shrine, I wish to express our heartfelt apologies and deep sense of remorse for all who suffered during those fateful days. We all remember and never forget what happened here.
Defeated in World War Ⅱ, Japan has built up a free and democratic nation that upholds human rights and respects the rule of law. Japan has also been contributing to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region throughout these seventy years as a peace-loving nation, as one of the best partners of the Philippines and as an ally of the United States.
Actions speak louder than words. Japan and the Philippines are strategic partners. Japan is the #1 trading partner to the Philippines. We are always one of the largest investors to the Philippines, and have been the #1 donor of ODA for decades. Not to mention projects for infrastructure and social and economic development, we provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) when typhoon Yolanda hit this country. Peace building in Mindanao has also become one of the top priorities for assistance from Japan.
Recently, horizon of cooperation has been expanding to security and defense cooperation, too. Our cooperation in maritime security issue based upon the rule of law is a good example. Just this January, two defense ministers signed a “ Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchange “ in Tokyo. Likewise, I am happy to announce that Philippine Military Academy cadet Karen Eve Mante graduated from a five-year degree program at the National Defense Academy of Japan as the first female cadet from the Philippines.
I would like to stress here that the path Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation in the past 70 years will remain unchanged.
And Japan is determined to make greater contributions toward peace and prosperity for the entire international community. We are very pleased to work together with the Philippines, the United States and all of our partners to this end.
Seventy years ago, we were enemies. Now, we are close friends. May this friendship be forever.
Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat!