On July 31, 2019, The Philippines-Japan Society (PJS) conferred upon The Japan Foundation (JF) the 41st Medal of Merit for outstanding achievements and contributions in promoting and strengthening Philippines-Japan relations. During the formal awards night held at the New World Hotel in Makati City, PJS President, Mr. Francis C. Laurel and Vice-President, Mr. Gerard B. Sanvictores, donned the Medal of Merit to The Japan Foundation, represented by Executive Vice-President, Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai and presented the plaque of the Citation, which was read by Atty. Jose Vicente E. Jimenez, PJS Corporate Secretary.
The Japan Foundation was established on October 1972. The foundation remains to be the only institution dedicated to carrying out cultural and intellectual exchanges between Japan and other nations worldwide. Its programs focus on three areas: 1. Arts and Cultural Exchanges; 2. Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchanges; and 3. Japanese Language Education Overseas. In 2014, it established The Japan Foundation Asia Center—a special unit aimed at furthering cultural exchange between Japan and Southeast Asia. In 1996, Japan Foundation Manila (JFM) was established as its 18th overseas office.
Since 1997, JFM has been a close and active partner of the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture Foundation (PIJLC) and Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF) specifically in the field of Japanese language education and training. PIJLC and NCF operate under the aegis of The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation (PJFF), an affiliate of PJS. One notable, long-running collaboration has been the 6-month Intensive Japanese Language Program for Filipino Nurses and Care Workers under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) program. Filipino Nihongo teachers under PIJLC and NCF have also received grants and participated in training programs at the foundation’s offices in Urawa and Kansai.
As stated on the MOM citation:
“Indeed, the vision, mission, and advocacy of the Philippines-Japan Society and all its affiliated Philippines-Japan friendship associations, including both the PIJLC and NCF, are markedly aligned with those of The Japan Foundation, making us natural partners in our shared quest for peace, prosperity, and strong partnership between our two countries through genuine and close friendships between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines.”
Read the full Citation of the Medal of Merit presented to The Japan Foundation here.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Sakurai conveyed how the foundation is greatly honored by the recognition and how he feels that the relationship between Japanese and Filipinos is at its golden age— its closest and friendliest ever.
“…on behalf of The Japan Foundation, l would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Philippines-Japan Society for awarding us with such a prestigious medal of merit.”
“…the conferment of this medal of merit would not have been possible without the enormous contribution of many highly-capable and talented Filipino staff members since the establishment of The Japan Foundation, Manila in 1996.”
“I feel that the present relationship between Japanese and Filipinos is at its closest and friendliest ever. We are blessed with a golden age in Japan-Philippines relations.”
Read the full acceptance speech of Mr. Sakurai here.
Ambassador Makoto Katsura, President of The Philippine Society of Japan, spoke at the awards night, while the greetings of H.E. Koji Haneda, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Philippines were read by Minister Atsushi Kuwabara, Minister and Consul General of Japan in the Philippines. The Philippines-Japan Ladies Choral, led by Maestra Teresita A. Santos, delighted the guests with their medley of Filipino and Japanese songs.
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with officers of the Japan Foundation Manila
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with members of the Philippines Society of Japan
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with the Board of Trustees and Officers of the Philippines Japan Society
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with the Board of Trustees and Officers of PHILJEC
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with NCF-PIJLC teachers who were grantees of the Japan Foundation Teacher Training Program held in Japan
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi, Director of the Japan Foundation Manila, and Mr. Kenjiro Ogata, the first Nihongo teacher dispatched to the Philippines by the Japan Foundation
- Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai with Heads of the affiliated organizations of the Philippines Japan Society
- The Medal of Merit
- The Plaque of the Citation
Citation of the Medal of Merit
Acceptance Speech by Mr. Tomoyuki Sakurai
Opening Remarks by Mr. Francis C. Laurel
Greetings by Amb. Koji Haneda (read by Minister Atsushi Kuwabara)