PJS To Confer Medal of Merit Upon PM Yasuo Fukuda

In recognition of his outstanding achievements in promoting not only Philippines-Japan but also Japan-ASEAN and intraregional relations, The Philippines-Japan Society will confer the Medal of Merit upon the Honorable Yasuo Fukuda, former Prime Minister of Japan, during the 39th PJS Friendship Dinner and Awards Night on July 21, 2017 to be held at the Makati Shangril-La.

He assumed office in September 2007 when Shinzo Abe suddenly resigned as Japan’s Prime Minister. Mr. Yasuo Fukuda is Japan’s 91st Prime Minister and the first to follow his father, 67th PM Takeo Fukuda, to Japan’s top post. Prior to his role as Prime Minister, Mr. Fukuda had taken on important positions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as Director of the Foreign Affairs Division, Deputy Secretary-General, and Chairman of the Finance Committee. From 2000 to 2004, he served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Prime Ministers Yoshiro Mori and Junichiro Koizumi, the longest tenure by anyone who has held the position.

As a leader, he is known to work quietly and skillfully without fanfare and controversy and pursued trailblazing policies such as the creation of sustainable societies, the designation of Eco-Model Cities, and a shift to people-centered political and administrative processes. His foreign policy advocacies were also in line with the “Fukuda Doctrine” also known as “Kokoro-to-Kokoro” or “Heart-to-Heart” that was first pronounced by his father in Manila in August 1977, and which committed Japan to peace, close economic partnership and diplomatic cooperation in Asia.

It is no surprise; therefore, that Mr. Fukuda is a champion of the ASEAN Economic Community and has continuously recognized the significant role of Japan alumni in ASEAN international cooperation and regional solidarity by strongly supporting the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) and making it a point to meet with former students in Japan from these countries.  

Mr. Fukuda attended the prestigious Azabu High School and graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Waseda University in 1959. He currently serves as Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia and holds leadership posts at international organizations that promote friendship and cooperation, including the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum.

The Medal of Merit is the highest award that the Philippine-Japan Society bestows to outstanding individuals who have greatly contributed in improving and promoting relations between the two countries.

PJS Members Show Golf Skills at 39th Friendship Tournament

Beating the sunrise, members of the Philippines-Japan Society arrived at the Sta. Elena Golf and Country Club for the 39th PJS Friendship Golf Tournament held last March 15, 2017. Registration started at 5:30 a.m. with a total of 12 teams participating in the tournament’s Scramble format.

The Ceremonial Tee Off kicked off the tournament, after which all the flights proceeded to their duly designated Holes for the shot-gun tee-off.

Emerging as Champions for 2017 was the team of Samson Enriquez, Shuhei Matsushita, Dan Ferreras, and Leslie Umsico with a gross score of 63, less the team handicap 10 for a net score of 53.

The runner-up team consisted of Alex Tan, Takehiro Shimada, Toshiyuki Ishikawa, and Sixto Benedicto which grossed 67 less their team handicap of 13 for a net score of 54, just a point over the Champion Team.

The winning team members will have their names etched on the permanent trophy that is prominently displayed at the PJS head office in Makati. Each winning player however received a commemorative glass trophy.

After the morning games, a buffet lunch was served to the members and non-other than PJS president, Mr. Francis C. Laurel greeted and congratulated the participants and guests of the tournament. Other activities followed in the afternoon such the awarding of winners, a raffle event, and recognition of this year’s generous sponsors.

The Philippines-Japan Friendship Golf Tournament is an annual tradition of the association 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.

The 2017 Golf Tournament Committee was headed by Mr. Joseph “Jun” Uy, Jr., Chairman and Mr. Raymond M. Abaquin, co-Chairman. It is noteworthy that Jun and Raymond are the sons of the former PJS Golf Tournament Chairmen, the late Mr. Joseph K.H. Uy and Amb. Eusebio (Sev) Abaquin.

Related Resources:

Tournament Program
Tournament Rules
Tournament Sponsors
Photo Album

Photo from The Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC)

Japan Confers Imperial Award On Former PM Cesar Virata

The Government of Japan conferred on former Philippine Prime Minister Cesar Enrique Aguinaldo Virata the Imperial Decoration of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun at fitting ceremonies held on November 24, 2016 at the official residence of Japan’s Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Kazuhide Ishikawa. The Award was given in recognition of PM Virata’s contributions in promoting friendly relations and strengthening economic cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.

As the Philippine Finance Secretary, Mr. Virata helped ratify the Philippines-Japan Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, the landmark agreement that normalized postwar trade relations between the two countries in 1960 although it only took effect in 1973. PM Virata also had an active role in channeling Japanese official development assistance (ODA) into the Philippines.

After a distinguished government career, he encouraged Japanese direct investments to the Philippines and extended consultancy services for Japanese companies and undertook policy studies for government institutions alike as lead consultant of C. Virata & Associates.

The award also recognized PM Virata’s guidance in Japan’s policy implementations through his 10-year chairmanship of the Advisory Committee of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippines Office. Finally, the Japanese Government expressed hope that PM Virata would continue to have an active role in strengthening ties between Japan and the Philippines.

Life, Career, and Government Service

PM Virata served as Secretary of Finance of the Philippines from 1970 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from 1981 to 1986. He is the eponym of the University of the Philippines Cesar Virata School of Business.

PM Virata was the 23rd recipient of the Philippines Japan Society Medal of Merit in 2001.

Order of the Rising Sun

The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun was established by Emperor Meiji in 1875. It is awarded to those who have distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, notable advancements in their field, development in welfare, or preservation of the environment.

Photo from The Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC)
Speech of former Philippine Prime Minister Cesar Enrique Aguinaldo Virata

An Imperial Encounter


Amb. Manuel Lopez Receives Medal of Merit at 38th Phil-Japan Friendship Dinner

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to Japan, Manuel Moreno Lopez, received the Medal of Merit from the Philippines-Japan Society (PJS) during a 38th Philippines-Japan Friendship Dinner and Awards Night held at the New World Hotel, Makati last July 29, 2016. As the highest award the Society can confer, the Medal of Merit recognized Ambassador Lopez’ outstanding achievements in the promotion of Philippines-Japan relations citing his major accomplishments as Philippine Ambassador to Japan.

PJS President, Francis C. Laurel, and Vice-President, Gerard B. Sanvictores, presented the award to Ambassador Lopez after the reading of the Citation by Atty. Jose Vicente Jimenez, PJS Corporate Secretary.

In his acceptance speech, Ambassador Lopez expressed his deepest gratitude and respect to PJS and its Japanese counterpart, The Philippine Society of Japan (Hiripin Kyokai) for the work that these organizations have been doing in promoting deeper understanding and genuine friendship between the two countries.

“With great honor and deep appreciation, I humbly accept this Medal of Merit from the Philippines-Japan Society. This recognition of my work as the Philippine Ambassador to Japan is very special to me, coming from an organization whose ideals, beliefs, and goals are totally congruent with mine,” said the Ambassador.

He also thanked the people who have worked with him and supported him during his 5-year posting and shared the award to the estimated 220,000 Filipinos residing in Japan. “Our Kababayans in Japan are our real ambassadors of our country. This realization defined my work the past 5 1/2 years as Ambassador and made me work even harder for them.”

The annual affair was graced by equally distinguished guests including the Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, Kazuhide Ishikawa, and Ambassador Makoto Katsura, President of The Philippine Society of Japan, who himself was last year’s recipient of the PJS Medal of Merit.

Working Towards Strategic Partnership

Named ambassador to Japan in 2010 by President Benigno S. Aquino III, Ambassador Lopez worked towards elevating the two countries’ relations to the level of a strong strategic partnership for which he was conferred the Order of the Sikatuna.

One of Ambassador Lopez’ major accomplishments was his management of a close working relationship with Japan towards the peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea issue. He also secured Japanese support, assistance, and expertise in addressing the Philippines’ vital infrastructure needs, including the Mega Manila Transport Roadmap.  

Moreover, Ambassador Lopez sustained the expansion of trade with Japan, oversaw the acceleration of direct investments of Japanese companies in the Philippines, and  he shepherded the intake of Japan’s record-high Official Development Assistance to the Philippines.

Barely two months from assuming his post, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011. Very new to the job, Ambassador Lopez heroically marshalled the Philippine Embassy staff in locating, assisting and safely evacuating Filipinos affected by the disaster, not only in the Tohoku region but the entire country as well.  It was a dramatic start of his fledgling diplomatic career – steeped with unprecedented challenges – which fortuitously turned into a blessing as it served to weld the strong and solid relationship of his Philippine Embassy team that would serve the large Filipino community in Japan for the next five years.

Ambassador Lopez’ tour of duty was highlighted by not just a few high-level visits between the Philippines and Japan, including the State Visit to the Philippines of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013, the State Visit to Japan of President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2015, and more recently, the historic visit to the Philippines of their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan last January 2016 – wherein he played significant central roles that resulted in major diplomatic milestones.  



PJS Citation for Amb. Lopez, Medal of Merit
Acceptance Speech of Amb. Lopez
Program, 38th Phil-Japan Friendship Dinner and Awards Night
38th Phil-Japan Friendship Dinner and Awards Night Photo Album

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