In the beginning, the activities of the Philippines-Japan Society, Inc. were basically similar to that of its Japanese counterpart, the Hiripin Kyôkai フィリピン協会 (The Philippine Society of Japan). They organized and took part in welcome parties and despedidas for Japanese dignitaries, planned trade missions and tours for Filipino businessmen and sponsored scholarships as well as different types of exchange programs and other cultural activities.
In line with its goals to cooperate with and extend cooperation and assistance to organizations concerned with the propagation of Philippines-Japan relations and to support efforts resulting in mutually beneficial relations between the Philippines and Japan, the Society helped establish the several organizations focusing on key areas of our countries’ bilateral ties, namely:
- The Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC)
The Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC), formerly known as the Philippine National Committee for Economic Cooperation with Japan (PNCECJ), was established in 1973 to promote, strengthen and expand trade, economic, scientific technological advancements, and exchange assistance to business endeavors in both the Philippines and Japan. It was designed to be a forum for private sector dialogue and the exchange of ideas geared towards the enhancement of Philippines-Japan trade and business relations. The PHILJEC counterpart committee in, the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee (JPECC) consists of ranking members of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Activities of these two committees include holding annual joint meetings alternately in the Philippines and Japan, organizing and supporting business missions sent by and to both countries, providing opportunities for Filipino and Japanese businessmen to develop interpersonal and commercial networks.
- The Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, Inc. (PJFF)
The PJFF was created in 1974 out of a Japanese Government endowment of One Million US Dollars given as an act of gratitude of the Japanese people for benevolent and compassionate efforts of the Philippines that led to the recovery of Lt. Hiroo Onoda, a wartime Japanese soldier straggling in the jungles of Lubang Island, nearly 30 years after the end of the war. Although the PJFF originally adopted activities such as the creation of programs for education, scholarship and student exchange, research, training and development, the Foundation now focuses on providing financial assistance to the Philippines-Japan Society and its affiliate organizations. The PJFF is the principal supporter of the Philippine institute of Japanese Language & Culture Foundation and the Nihongo Center Foundation. In 1976, it established the Philippines-Japan Friendship Center in Makati as a venue for activities of the Philippines-Japan Society and its affiliates. It built the Philippines-Japan Friendship Center – Manila and the Philippine Japan Alumni Center.
- The Philippines-Japan Ladies Association, Inc. (PJLA)
The PJLA was established in 1975 during the International Women’s Year. It is composed of Filipino and Japanese women committed to the promotion of goodwill, the enhancement of friendship and the promotion of cooperation between and among its members. The Association sponsors culinary demonstrations, trips to museums, art and culture lectures that have exposed its members to each other’s cultures. It has its own choral group named, Philippines-Japan Ladies Friendship Chorale, which holds weekly practices since it started in 1979. The Chorale has been invited to perform in the annual Philippines-Japan Friendship Dinner and Awards Night and other occasions.
- The Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA)
PHILFEJA was established in 1997 as the umbrella organization of various associations of Filipino alumni of Japanese universities, schools, and training institutes. It was initiated by Omni Ventures – a unique group that consisted of wartime Filipino students known as the Nampo Tokubetsu Ryugakusei 南方特別留学生. It was joined by the Philippine Association of Japanese Ministry of Education Scholars (PHILAJAMES) the Philippine Cultural and Technical Association of Returned Overseas Scholars (PHILCUTAROS), the Association of Philippine Private Alumni of Japanese Universities (APPAJU), the JICA Alumni Association of the Philippines (JAAP) which is the merger of three erstwhile associations of JICA grantees, and the Samahan ng mga Pilipinong Nag-Aral at Nanirahan sa Nihon (SAPILNIP).
Today, the Society primarily hosts the annual Philippines-Japan Society Dinner and Awards Night, an occasion where Filipinos and Japanese who have made outstanding, exemplary and significant contributions to the promotion of friendship, understanding and cooperation between the Philippines and Japan are honored. Yearly, the Society – by unanimous decision of its Board of Directors – selects a distinguished Filipino or Japanese awardee who is conferred the PJS Medal of Merit – the highest award within the Society’s gift to confer. Additionally, the awardee is presented a Plaque of Appreciation containing a Citation that highlights the awardee’s significant accomplishments for which the award is given. The PJS Medal of Merit was first awarded in 1979.
This annual gala dinner is organized and sponsored by the Philippines-Japan Society, in association with all its affiliate organizations, the Embassy of Japan in Manila, the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry of the Philippines, and the Manila Japanese Association.
The Society also sponsors the Annual Philippines-Japan Friendship Golf Tournament, supports the activities of affiliate organizations, hosts luncheons and dinners for visiting Japanese dignitaries.