Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the first head of state to visit Davao City as he is scheduled to meet President Rodrigo Duterte at his home in the city.
The Japanese PM will arrive in Manila on Thursday and will fly to Davao City on Friday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
The two leaders are expected to discuss strengthening economic relations between the Philippines and Japan. The Japanese leader is also expected to meet representatives from the Philippine business sector.
“Apparently, the Prime Minister wants to visit the President’s residence house so it’s interesting,” Abella said. “Basically, they will talk about regional issues, business, counter-terrorism. Stuff like that.”
“They hit it off really well. We stayed long in the banquets there where the President and Prime Minister conversed and had their pictures taken together,” said Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during an interview with TV5.
Davao City has history of connections with Japan. Davao became dubbed as a Ko Nippon Koku, or Little Japan in Japanese, as many settlers from Japan moved to work at plantations in Davao. Davao City’s barangay Mintal, in particular, became a hub of Japanese economic activity, described in its own Web site as “The Little Tokyo of Prewar Philippines.”
“He (Mr. Abe) would be going to Mintal because there’s an international university being built there,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. said in a phone interview last month.
There are also plans to develop the old Japanese shrine into a tourism complex.
Davao City has two Japanese international schools namely the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku and the Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School. A Japanese Consulate also maintains presence in Davao City.