PJS Holds Annual General Membership Meeting 2018

The Philippines-Japan Society, Inc. held its Annual General Membership meeting on July 17, 2018 at the Amb. Jose S. Laurel Hall, 3rd Flr Dominion Building , 833 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City. Headed by PJS President Francis C. Laurel, the members had several items on this year’s agenda including the Annual Report of the President, Financial Report of the Treasurer and the election of the members of the PJS Board of Trustees for 2018-2019.

To read more about the major events and activities of PJS last year, view the PJS Annual Report 2017-2018.


Other matters discussed included the program for the 40th Philippines-Japan Friendship Dinner & Awards Night to be held on July 30, 2018  at the New World Hotel, with Mr. Tomas I. Alcantara as the 40th recipient of the Philippines-Japan Society Medal of Merit. At the meeting’s adjournment, President Laurel thanked the members and reiterated the important role the Society plays in maintaining good relations between the Philippines and Japan.

“Before I close, let me commend our members for their unselfish support for the activities of the Society in 2017. The significance of Society cannot be overemphasized. The long relationship of our organization with Japan has become a cornerstone for more beneficial programs for our two nations. It is in this light that we are grateful for the steadfast support of the Embassy of Japan and the Japan Association of Manila. As we move from year to year, we can only look forward to a deeper alliance with Japan.”



Photo Album

Ambassador Koji Haneda Does Ceremonial Tee Shot To Open 40th PJS Friendship Golf Tournament

PJS held its 40th Philippines-Japan Friendship Golf Tournament last February 18, 2018 at The Country Club, Santa Rosa Laguna with the new Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, H.E. Ambassador Koji Haneda, as this year’s honored guest. Ambassador Haneda took the Ceremonial Tee Shot at exactly 6:10 a.m., which officially opened the tournament. After the tee off, the Tournament Group Photo was taken and the different teams headed to their respective holes to start the game.

Similar to previous years, this year’s tournament was also a Scramble (Best Ball) honesty game format made up of four-man teams where each team played alone with no one checking Team scores. This year’s Champion was the team of Edwin Umali, Komoda Takahisa, Eddie Jose, and Fumihiko Harada with a gross score of 67, less the team handicap 5 for a net score of 62.

The team of Koyama Yuji, Okubo Atsushi, Feliciano Torres, and SP Sumulong took the 1st Runner Up trophies with their gross score at 73, less their team handicap of 10 for a net score of 63. Finally, the team of Joey Coronel, Alex Cabrera, Arthur Chung, and Hiromi Shimoda finished the game as 2nd Runner Up winners with their gross score of 67, less the team handicap 3 for a net score of 64. All the members of the winning teams will have their names etched on their trophies, which will be displayed at the PJS head office in Makati.

At its 40th year, The Philippines-Japan Friendship Golf Tournament continues to be a much-awaited annual tradition aimed at fostering friendship and cooperation between Filipinos and Japanese. Players were allowed to form their own teams with at least one Filipino or one Japanese member and a maximum of four players. Mr. Joseph “Jun” Uy, Jr., heads the tournament as Chairman and Mr. Raymond M. Abaquin, as co-Chairman.



Photo Album

PJS & PHILJEC Hold Welcome Dinner for Ambassador & Madame Koji Haneda

PJS & PHILJEC organized a welcome dinner reception in honor of new Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Mr. Koji Haneda and spouse on December 18, 2017 at the New World Hotel, Makati City. The event also served as the Christmas party for members and officers of both organizations.

PJS President Mr. Francis M. Laurel welcomed Ambassador Haneda and guests with his opening greetings and toast while PHILJEC Corporate Secretary, Mr. JJ Soriano took on the role as emcee for the evening. More than 70 distinguished guests attended the dinner including former Philippine Prime Minister and Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun awardee Mr. Cesar Virata and former Amb. Benjamin F. Sanvictores, Executive Trustee of The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation (PJFF).

In his speech, Ambassador Haneda expressed his gratitude and intention to work closely with the Philippine Government and different organizations related to strengthening PH-Japan relations:

“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Philippines-Japan Society, and the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee for hosting this welcome dinner reception. It gives me a chance to meet your members who have worked tirelessly to strengthen the relationship between our two countries over the years.”

“I believe the core strength of our countries’ relationship lies in our people. It lies in you. Your presence here tonight reflects how much we can achieve when we work together. I am therefore determined to do my best and to work closely with the Philippine government, and institutions such as PJS and PHILJEC, during my stay here as Ambassador.”

Ambassador Haneda arrived in Manila on October 14, 2017. He started his diplomatic career in Manila in the early 1980s and thus referred to himself as a “Balikbayan” and expressed his delight for being in the Philippines again.

The Ambassador, in a statement, also pledged to work hard on promoting and the strategic partnership and friendly ties between the Philippines and Japan:

“It is my honor and privilege to be assigned as Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines. Indeed, I started my diplomatic career in Manila in the early 1980’s. Being a Balikbayan, I’m delighted to be here once again.

Under the strategic partnership, our bilateral relations have evolved to a significant level, as represented by the state visit of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress in January 2016 and other frequent mutual visits of our leaders. Through the years, our partnership has achieved tangible outcomes in many areas, including infrastructure projects on an unprecedented scale, capacity building in counter-terrorism and maritime security, defense cooperation, and continued commitment of support to the Mindanao peace process. I am also pleased to see ever-growing people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and Japan in every field and level.

Building upon the past achievements, I pledge to exert every effort to further advance the strategic partnership and the friendship between our two countries. Maraming salamat po.” (source: Embassy of Japan in the Philippines http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/00_000381.html)


H.E. Haneda Welcome Dinner Photo Album
H.E. Haneda PJS Welcome Dinner Speech

PHILJEC and PJS Host Reception for New BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr.

The Philippines Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC) and The Philippines Japan Society (PJS) hosted a cocktail reception on July 10, 2017 for new BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr.. Governor Espenilla was a Monbusho Scholar of the Japanese Government from 1986-1988 for his Master in Policy Science degree from Japan’s premier National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS).

Japan’s Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Kazuhide Ishikawa and Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun Awardee, former Philippine Prime Minister Cesar Virata graced the reception held at the Mayuree 2 Ballroom, Dusit Hotel, Makati City.

PHILJEC Chairman Aniceto G. Saludo and PJS President Francis C. Laurel led their respective organizations during the reception. PHILJEC Co-Chairman Edwin Umali, Co-Chairman Gerry Sanvictores, and PHILJEC Secretary General and PJS Trustee JJ Soriano (also from GRIPS) were also present.

In his speech titled, “The Philippines and Japan: Enhancing Strategic Partnership”, Gov. Espenilla recalled his experiences and insights as a Monbusho scholar 31 years ago.

“What a different world it was in 1986!” exclaimed the Governor. “Yet, despite all these vast changes, the Philippines-Japan Society has been unwavering in its commitment to foster closer ties between our nations – even as early as 1972, when it was formally established! I likewise commend the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee for its steadfast initiatives to promote closer economic ties between the Philippines and Japan.”

Another insight Gov. Espenilla shared was his observation about Japanese culture and how it emphasizes cultivating a sense of self vis-à-vis others and society. “I believe this emphasis on harmony and collaboration accounts for our countries’ long-standing relationship. Cooperation between our nations has paved the way for the advancement of our economic and trade relations.”


Under his term as BSP Governor, Gov. Espenilla said that he would ensure that an enabling monetary and financial environment is maintained to achieve the country’s growth objectives, while safeguarding price and financial stability.  He also talked about the increasing presence of foreign banks, in particular 5 Japan-based banks in the Philippines and how this would facilitate the flow of investments, promote trade, support business expansion, and encourage technology transfers, that may lead to more job creation and more productive output. Against this backdrop, Japanese investors in the country can look forward to expanded opportunities for growth and investments.   


Read the full speech of Gov. Espenilla here.

PJFF Chairman Joey Laurel Is New PH Ambassador to Japan

Deferentially addressed as “Governor” – he was Provincial Governor of Batangas from 1980 to 1988 – Jose “Joey” C. Laurel V is also an accomplished business executive and acclaimed civic leader, with extensive involvement in Japanese affairs and relations.  

On September 16, 2016 President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed Governor “Joey” to be the Philippines’ Ambassador to Japan, then asked him, as Ambassador-designate, to be part of the Presidential Delegation when he made his first State Visit to Japan on October 25-27, 2106. Then, on December 7, 2016, the bi-cameral Commission on Appointments speedily and unanimously confirmed his appointment and on April 5, 2017, he officially began his tenure as Philippine Ambassador-designate to Japan.

On June 9, 2017, H.E. Jose C. Laurel V presented his credentials as the Philippine Ambassador to Japan to His Majesty Emperor Akihito, in formal rites held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The official photo of Ambassador Laurel V presenting his credentials to the Emperor is a poignant image of a life journey destined towards a pivotal role in Philippines-Japan relations. It marks a new milestone in the generations-long association of the Laurel Family with Japan.  

The new Ambassador first set foot in Japan as a toddler when the Laurel family was exiled to Nara as Japanese forces were retreating from the Philippines.  A grandson of Jose P. Laurel, President of the Second Philippine Republic (1943-1945), he and his elder brother Tony had to be brought to Japan by their parents, Jose III and Beatriz (Betty) with the rest of the Laurel family as innocent exiles.  Joey was not even 2-years old.  

Some twenty years thereafter, in 1965, his father was designated Philippine Ambassador to Japan who served until 1971.  Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III, the quintessential Filipino diplomat to Japan, lived an extraordinary life deeply immersed in Japan and its people: he was the only Filipino and one of just a few foreigners to graduate from the elite Japanese Imperial Military Academy (陸軍士官学校) in 1937; a Filipino patriot who served before, during and after the war with his own life; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to Japan; founder and principal architect of the Philippines-Japan Society and its network of organizations dedicated to the promotion of  peace, friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Japan.  

It was therefore natural for the children of Ambassador Laurel III to gravitate towards Philippines-Japan affairs, themselves becoming active advocates of the principles and aspirations of their father. Following the footsteps of his illustrious father as Philippine Ambassador to Japan, the first son called to serve in the same post as his father, Ambassador Joey Laurel is not only eminently qualified and extensively connected in Japanese business and official circles, perhaps most importantly, he is now a lead bearer of his forebears’ unsullied reputation and, especially that of his father, Jose III, in Japan.

On his own, Ambassador Laurel V has gained prominence in the country’s business and civic circles.  He has held top management positions in many large companies, including among others, Toyota Batangas City, Inc., YKK Philippines, Transworld Trading Co., Inc., Philippine Petrochemical Products, Asian Chemical Corporation, and the Lyceum Press.  Besides his Chairmanship of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, he is an Adviser to the Philippines-Japan Society, Trustee of the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture and the Nihongo Center Foundation, former Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (Batangas Chapter), and was a member of the Rotary Club and Lions Club of Batangas, Knights of Rizal and Manila Jaycees Senate.

Ambassador Laurel V obtained two degrees from the De La Salle University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Salutatorian) and Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies.  He completed is Masters in Business Administration also at the De La Salle University and is a Master of Graphic Arts under the Dai Nippon Printing Group, Tokyo, Japan.  

At the onset of his Ambassadorship, he said, “My role in Japan is to continuously improve closer relationships with the Japanese, not necessarily お金だけ(okane dake)’ but real 心と心(kokoro to kokoro)’ understanding,”. Already a public servant in his younger days (as Governor of Batangas), Ambassador Laurel V is the latest member of the famed Laurel family to continue their legacy of service to God, country and people:


  • Jose P. Laurel – President of the Second Philippine Republic (1943-1945); jurist, nationalist, patriot
  • Jose B. Laurel, Jr. – Speaker of the House of Representatives (1967-1971)
  • Jose S. Laurel, III – Philippine Ambassador to Japan (1966-1971); founder and President Emeritus, The Philippines-Japan Society and its affiliate organizations
  • Sotero H. Laurel – Senator of the Republic of the Philippines (1987-992); educator
  • Salvador H. Laurel – Senator; Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines (1986-1992)
  • Jose Macario B. Laurel IV – Ambassador to Brazil
  • Beatriz Castillo-Laurel† – Founding President, Philippines-Japan Ladies Association; member, Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation
  • Francis C. Laurel – President, Philippines-Japan Society; former Chairman, Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC); Regent – University of the Philippines; businessman
  • Benjamin C. Laurel – President, Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA); Governor & Chairman ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA); Chairman, Asia Japan Alumni (ASJA) International

As Philippines-Japan relations chart an even closer, friendlier strategic partnership in all aspects of geopolitics, trade, investments, security, culture and arts, people-to-people exchange, Ambassador Jose “Joey” C. Laurel V – along with the professional corps comprising the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo – faces the enormous challenge of serving as the country’s top diplomat in Japan, and lead bilateral efforts in bringing the two countries’ durable relations to the next higher level.  



Related Resources:

Amb. Jose Laurel V – photos

Amb. Jose Laurel V – Official CV

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