Japanese Emperor and Empress to visit Philippines from Jan 26, 2016

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will make a five-day trip to the Philippines from Jan 26 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral ties between Japan and the Philippines.

It will be the first official visit by a Japanese emperor to the Southeast Asian country, where around 1.1 million Filipinos and some 518,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians perished during World War II.

The emperor and empress last visited the Philippines in 1962 when they were crown prince and princess. Their return after more than half a century comes on the invitation of President Benigno Aquino, extended during his state visit to Japan last June.

The couple’s trip to the Philippines is to be part of a tour where they will pay respects to war dead and pray for peace. The emperor’s father, Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, was commander in chief of the Japanese military before and during the war and Japanese soldiers at the time fought and died in his name.

While the emperor and empress have traveled to war-affected China and other Southeast Asian countries since they ascended to the throne in 1989, the Philippines has been one of a few war-linked nations not visited by the imperial couple.

Besides domestic locations such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa, which were devastated during the war, the couple visited Saipan, one of the Northern Mariana Islands, in 2005 and Palau last year in commemoration of the 60th and 70th anniversaries of the end of the war in 1945.

Reflecting the imperial couple’s strong desire to mourn war dead, the two are scheduled to visit a monument to Japanese soldiers set up in 1973 by the Japanese government in Caliraya, southeast of Manila, and a cemetery for Filipino victims in the capital where they will lay flowers in respect.

During the war, the Philippines, then a U.S. colony, was occupied by Japan in 1942, and then became a major battlefield when fighting between Japan and the United States occurred in 1944.

In the capital city of Manila alone, about 100,000 citizens were killed in about the space of a month after a fierce battle between Japanese and U.S. forces broke out in early February 1945.

According to historians, indiscriminate massacres of local residents by Japanese soldiers also took place in areas where anti-Japan guerilla fighters, who strongly resisted Japanese occupation, were operating.

Despite the strong anti-Japan sentiment that prevailed immediately after the war, the Philippines has developed close economic, political and cultural ties with Japan in the postwar era.

Japan became the Southeast Asian nation’s largest trading partner in 2014 and largest source of official development assistance. More than 200,000 Filipino people now live in Japan, with many working to support their family in the Philippines. Some experts put the gradual easing in anti-Japan sentiment down to these economic links and the benefits gained from remittances from expat Filipinos.

During their stay in Luzon, the Philippines’ main island, the imperial couple are expected to attend a welcoming ceremony and a banquet at the Malacanang Palace to be attended by Aquino. They will also meet with Japanese people living in the country.

Credits: Japan.com

Symposium on Monozukuri – Jakarta, Indonesia (Dec 18-20, 2015)

By: Gian M. Vibal – PHILCULTAROS

Day 1

After arriving at Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, we were picked up by the hosts from Indonesia together with Malaysian delegate, Law Yean Kok. Despite the long trip from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, to Jakarta, we were pleased by how organized the airport pickup was. Not to mention, the scrumptious boxed meal of Indonesian desserts that we received while waiting for our ride to our hotel.

(Source: instagram seenbygian)(Source: instagram seenbygian)
(Source: instagram seenbygian)

Inside the cab, we had the chance to chat with the driver and Mr. Law Yean Kok about the similarities between Bahasa and Tagalog which kept us busy while braving the traffic. Soon enough, we reached an uphill leading us to the drop-off point of our accommodation—Hotel Sultan.


That was the first word that came to our minds upon entering the lobby. We were provided keys to our own separate rooms as we registered for the event. The hosts welcomed us warmly with genuine smiles and handshakes.

Warm welcome– check.

Lavish accommodation– check.

Spacious room for one–


After appreciating our individual rooms and freshening up for the welcoming dinner, the participants and hosts came to the dining hall batch by batch.

At 7 PM, The “Persada” formally opened the event. There were round tables and a decent array of Indonesian cuisine to choose from. Delegates from different South-East Asian countries took this chance to network and talk about our involvements, our respective alumni societies—milestones and plans, even our common interests, ending up with casual pictorials. Sato Jiro Sensei thanked all participants for attending the event. After his speech, the hosts requested each participant to introduce himself in front of everyone and state the alumni society he/she represents. Moreover, we were pleased to have cultural exchanges with other participants which helped us better understand some differences and similarities among South-East Asian countries.

It was a fun dinner coupled with collaborative talks among delegates and this prepared us well for another information-packed day to come.

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Day 2

Getting up from a cozy room, we had buffet for breakfast and immediately prepared for the symposium proper. All of us were picked up by a bus to Darma Persada University where the symposium will take place. The ride was convenient.

6 7

Upon arriving at 8:45 in the morning, we were welcomed by the student hosts in charge of the registration. There were seat designations and each participant was provided an ID and a kit that includes the compiled presentations of the speakers.

8 9

The symposium was divided into three sessions—The Philosophy of Monozukuri, Monozukuri from Industrial Practitioner Point of View and The Future of Monozukuri.

For the first session, Mr. Heru Santoso talked about Monozukuri in Indonesia; while Mr. Daiki Kasugahara discussed it from JETRO’s point of view; Dr. Dadang Solihin talked about Darma Persada’s Monozukuri education while Dr. Ruttikorn Varakulsiripunth tackled Monozukuri education in Thai Nichi Institute.

For the second session, Mr. Takao Yajima, Mr. Eichi Abe, Mr. Hartaman Ariesanto, Mr. Makoto Takahashi, Mr. Petrus Tedja Hapsoro and F.X. Sri Martono talked about the existence of Monozukuri in their respective companies (Flex Japan Group, EPSON, Indonesia Mold & Dies Industry Association, ASTRA)

Lastly, for the third session, Mr. Tatsuhiko Hayashi shared how Industry 4.0 affects the future of the Auto Industry and Mr. Takuya Shimura ended the symposium with his talk on “HRD and Monozukuri”.

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Every after portion, we were given coffee breaks and lunch breaks furthering our chances to network and talk with other people. The speakers explained the concept of monozukuri in different ways coming from their own perspectives and experiences. It was a privilege to attend the event with such an interesting topic. We learned a lot about the Japanese concept of about how to create things not focusing on the item but on the person’s skills and on his/her innovative method of making it. Moreover, there is also this concept of hitozukuri which focuses on the person and how he/she undergoes a process that manifests the ingredients of personal maturation needed to improve one’s craftsmanship. Through the talks, we have somehow seen how these principles are reflected in the speakers’ work environments and realized how the application of these concepts perpetuates innovation in manufacturing. The symposium ended at around 5 PM.

PHILCULTAROS (Philippine Cultural and Technical Association of Returned Overseas Scholars), a member association of PHILFEJA represented the Philippines in the ASJA-Persada Symposium on Monozukuri held from 18-20 December 2015  in Jakarta, Indonesia .  This article is the full report of Mr. Rayo to PHILFEJA on his participation in the Symposium and is published in this website with his permission.

2016 EPA Nihongo Course Begins (Nov 6, 2015)

The NCF Class of 2016 of the Preparatory Nihongo Training Program for Filipino Nurse and Certified Care Worker Candidates under the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was formally opened on November 6, 2015 at the Jose P. Laurel Memorial Hall, Philippines-Japan Friendship Center, R. Papa Street, Sampaloc, Manila.  A total of 112 students were admitted into the Program or 32% of the total 352 candidate-students.  The rest are enrolled at the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Taguig City.

This is the second year that the Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF) was tapped by the Japan Foundation Manila (JFM) to conduct the Japanese Language Training Program on its behalf for the entire 6-month course.  The first batch started in November 2015 and 89 graduates left for Japan in June this year.  Similarly, the current batch will end their language training in end-May and those who pass will leave for Japan in June 2016 for the second phase of Nihongo training before they are deployed to pre-matched hospitals and caregiving institutions in Japan. 

NCF President Philip B. Sanvictores led the opening ceremony and delivered an inspirational Message after the Opening Remarks given by Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi, Director of Japan Foundation Manila.  Director Nimfa de Guzman of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) read the Message of Atty. Hans Leo Cacdac  – Administrator.  Finally, Economic Affairs Minister Makoto Iyori of the Embassy of Japan, who had just assumed his post in Manila encouraged the student-candidates to study hard and to do their best.  Other guests who attended the opening ceremonies were First Secretary and Labor Attaché of Japan, Mr. Hiroyuki Enoki, Mr. Tetsuya Koida, Assistant Director of JFM, Mrs. Marilen Laurel-Loinaz, Treasurer and Administrator of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, Inc.

 The Head Lecturer, Professor Kenjiro Ogata was the last to address the students.  He enjoined them to concentrate on their studies as this will be the single most important tool for a successful work life in Japan that could help create a brighter future for them and their families.  Speaking mainly in English, Prof. Ogata surprised the students when he fluently spoke in straight, flawless Tagalog; he also introduced the NCF Teaching Staff for the EPA.

1Welcome Remarks of Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores, NCF President

21st ASCOJA Conference a Stirring Success (Oct 2-3, 2015)

The 21st Conference of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) held on 2-4 October 2015 at the Dusit Thani Manila was a stirring success, according to Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores, President of the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA) – host and organizer of the Conference. He cited several significant achievements:

  • The ASCOJA Vision-Mission was unanimously ratified by the ASCOJA Council;
  • The updated Objectives were likewise unanimously approved by the ASCOJA Council (both the Vision-Mission Statement and updated Objectives will form part of the amended Articles of Organization and By-Laws of ASCOJA);
  • Certain other amendments to the By-Laws were approved in principle by the ASCOJA Council subject to final reading and approval by the Board of Governors in its next meeting in Tokyo in end-March 2016;
  • A total of 318 delegates were registered, of which 171 (54%) were foreigners, i.e., from the nine other ASEAN countries and Japan. The rest were delegates from PHILFEJA member associations and guests;
  • Prominent dignitaries attended the Conference, namely:
    • E. Yasuo Fukuda, former Prime Minister of Japan
    • Toshiko Abe, Senior Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
    • Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines
    • Tetsuro Amano, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in the Philippines
    • E. Cesar E.A. Virata, former Prime Minister of the Philippines
    • Ambassador Delia D. Albert, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines
    • Assistant Secretary Minda Calaguian-Cruz, Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs
    • Director Hans Mohaimin L. Siriban, Northeast Asia Division, Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs
    • Governor Jose C. Laurel V, Chairman – The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation
    • Ambassador Benjamin F. Sanvictores, Executive Trustee – The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation
    • Wilfrido V. Villacorta – former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the ASEAN Secretariat and Professor Emeritus – De La Salle University
  • ASCOJA Board of Governors
    • Philip B. Sanvictores, President – Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA); host organization;
    • Ooi Chee Keong, President – Japan Graduates Association of Malaysia (JAGAM);
    • Ismadji Hadisoemarto, Vice-President – Association of Indonesian Alumni from Japan (PERSADA);
    • Tan Kay Guan, President – Japanese University Graduates Association of Singapore (JUGAS);
    • Samran Chooduangngern, President – Old Japan Students’ Association Thailand (OJSAT);
    • Chin Wei Kah, President – Brunei Association of Japan Alumni (BAJA);
    • Si Si Shein, President – Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA);
    • Vuthy Monyrath, President – Japan Alumni of Cambodia (JAC);
    • Dr. Ngo Minh Thuy, President – Japan Alumni of Vietnam (JAV); and
    • Bouasone Vongthavone, President – Japan Alumni of Laos (JAOL).
  • ASJA International
    • Ambassador Takashi Tajima, Director for Japan
    • Samran Chooduangngern, Chairman – ASJA International
    • Jiro Sato, Secretary- General
    • Chikako Hagihara, Secretariat Manager
  • Japan Stakeholders
    • Yoshihisa Ishikawa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) – Tokyo
    • Hideki Yonekawa, Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
    • Yuichi Kondo, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)
    • Takayasu Omura, Japan Association for the Promotion of Internationalization
  • The Conference Theme – “ASCOJA in an Integrated ASEAN” – was thoroughly discussed in Keynote Speeches by Ambassador Albert and Villacorta; these were further discussed in three breakout sessions each presenting three papers from various ASCOJA Chapters focusing on:
    • Education, Research and Development
      • Education and Industry Collaboration by Adeline Pang Li Ching (BAJA)
      • Responding to Challenges in Internationalizing the National University by Fernando C. Sanchez (PHILFEJA)
      • Discourse on Issues and Approaches on How Children Acquire New Language Effectively by Ooi Chee Keong (JAGAM)
      • Moderated by Maricar Prudente, Professor of Science Education, De La Salle University
    • Economic Integration and Business
      • ASEAN Economic Integration through Sub-Regional Cooperation by Eko Cahyono (PERSADA)
      • Improving Business Policies and Infrastructure by Phouphet Kyophilavong (JAOL)
      • Development of Dynamic Capability for Venture Gestation by Goi Hoe Chin (JUGAS)
      • Moderated by Rosalina Tan, Professor of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University
    • Cultural Diversity and Social Integration
      • World Heritage (Pyu Ancient City of Sri Kestra) by Prof Si Si Shein (MAJA)
      • Rice and Tea: Cultural Exchange in ASEAN Countries and Japan by Navarat Laekhakula (OJSAT)
      • Independence and Integration as Parallel Movements in the History of Vietnam by Ngo Tu Lap (JAV)
      • Moderated by Rico Jose, Professor of History, University of the Philippines
    • Consolidation and Wrap-up Plenary Session moderated by Tereso Tullao, Jr., Director – Angelo King Institute for Economic and Business Studies, De La Salle University
  • The social functions and cultural events were very well attended:
    • Welcome Dinner on October 2, 2015
    • Ayala Walking Tour in the afternoon of October 3 for delegates’ spouses
    • Dinner Reception hosted by Ambassador Ishikawa on October 3
    • Golf game at South Forbes Golf Club on October 4
    • Tour of Old Manila on October 4 with luncheon at the Bayleaf Hotel
    • Farewell Dinner on October 4

The 21st ASCOJA Conference was featured in three dailies – the Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin and Business World. Copies of the press releases can be viewed in this link. Moreover, the conference was covered by Cignal TV® and featured in its newly launched Bloomberg TV™ (click here to view broadcast footage).

A 110-page souvenir program was produced for the conference. In addition, a Compendium covering all the presentations in printed, video and digital formats is under production, scheduled for release within the year. The 21st ASCOJA Conference was blessed to have a wide array of generous supporters, enumerated in this link to partners, sponsors and advertisers.

A final and all-important accomplishment of the 21st Conference was the determination by the ASCOJA Council of the schedule of annual conferences from 2016 to 2025, as follows:

Year Host Organization Country
2016 Japan Graduates Association of Malaysia (JAGAM) Malaysia
2017 Brunei Association of Japan Alumni (BAJA) Brunei
2018 Japanese University Graduates Association of Singapore (JUGAS) Singapore
2019 Japan Alumni of Cambodia (JAC) Cambodia
2020 Japan Alumni of Laos (JAOL) Laos
2021 Old Japan Students’ Association Thailand (OJSAT) Thailand
2022 Association of Indonesia Alumni from Japan (PERSADA) Indonesia
2023 Japan Alumni of Vietnam (JAV) Vietnam
2024 Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA) Myanmar
2025 Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA) Philippines

Links to ASCOJA 2015 Sponsors and Advertisers

Japan Foundation BPI/MS Insurance Corporation
The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation Business Trends Philippines
GOLD EMS Components Assembly, Inc.
YKK Corporation
The Laurel Family
JG Law
SILVER The Law Firm of Ingles Laurel Calderon
SGV & Company Lunchbox Diet
Nanpou Tokubetsu Ryugakusei Lyceum of the Philippines University
BRONZE Mabuhay Vinyl Corporation
8990 Holdings, Inc. Netmarks Philippines, Inc.
Bank of the Philippine Islands Uniadex, Ltd.
BDO Unibank Nikkoshi Philippines Corporation
Bonita del Mar Optimum Securities Corporation
EEI Corporation PHILAJAMES Foundation / VastNet, Inc.
First Metro Investment Corporation PIJLC Alumni Batches 4, 5 and 6
Hino Motors Philippines, Inc. Prime Manpower
i-Cube Group, Inc. Quantum Group
Mitsubishi Corporation – Manila Branch Soriano Projects and Ventures Group
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center & Cancer Institute
Servicio Filipino, Inc. Sumitomo Corporation of the Philippines
Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation Trend Micro
Toyota Batangas, Inc. WestPac Solutions Factory, Inc.
 Toyota Camarines Sur, Inc. Lionapex Philippines, Inc.
DONORS Abiva Publishing House, Inc.
 Mr. Nelson Licup Eligardi Enterprises, Inc.
 Globe Telecom Toyota Manila Bay, Inc.
 Nihongo Center Foundation, Inc. VaxPlus Corporation

PJLA Celebrates 40th Anniversary (Aug 22, 2015)

The Philippines-Japan Ladies Association (PJLA) celebrated its 40th Anniversary on August 22, 2015 with a Dinner Reception held at the Manila Golf & Country ClubHarvard Road, Forbes Park, Makati City. Three members were conferred Merit Awards in recognition of their invaluable contributions to PJLA through the years. These were: Mrs. Haruko Murakami, Mrs. Herminia L. Alcasid, and Mrs. Josefina B. Sanvictores.

 PJLA President Mrs. Marilen Laurel-Loinaz welcomed the 90 guests who attended the affair. Madame Yuko Ishikawa, lady of Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa also congratulated PJLA for this important milestone.

Before the awarding ceremonies, the guests were regaled by highly acclaimed artist-singers, namely: Aisaku Yokogawa – a popular Japanese entertainer who grew up in the Philippines and is thus trilingual (Nihongo, English and Tagalog); and Ms. Gerphil Geraldine Flores (recently won 3rd place in Asia’s Got Talentcompetition).  The highlight of the program however was the master entertainer-singer-composer, Mr. Ogie Alcasid (son of the awardee) and his wife Ms. Regine Velasquez-Alcasid (known as Asia’s Songbird), for their beautiful and very entertaining numbers.

The citations and responses of the awardees, as well as the speeches of Mrs. Loinaz and Mdme. Ishikawa are provided in this link. Photos of the affair may be accessed at Google Drive.

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