The BGA Philippines Team, led by Managing Director Victor Andres Manhit, wrote an update to clients on Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Manila.


  • Kishida made an official visit to Manila from November 3-4 to boost Japan-Philippines defense and economic relations. As a prelude to his visit, Japan transferred air surveillance radar systems to the Philippines in early November. The visit opened discussions on a reciprocal access agreement, raising optimism in the development of security relations between the two countries. In addition, Japan announced official security assistance to the Philippines amounting to JPY 600 million ($4 million).
  • The leaders confirmed their robust and forward-looking strategic partnership based on shared values, including respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law. The two met in February when Marcos flew to Tokyo for an official visit and again on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Indonesia in September and the United Nations General Assembly in September 2022.


  • A major outcome of their meeting is the agreement to start negotiations on a reciprocal access agreement to boost defense cooperation. They also supported regular 2+2 meetings between foreign and defense ministers.
  • The official security assistance is the first since the establishment of the framework earlier this year. It aims to deepen security cooperation with like-minded partners, create a desirable security environment and contribute to international peace and security. It also seeks to enhance security and deterrence capabilities of recipient countries’ armed forces through equipment and supply provisions and infrastructure development.


  • The strengthening of Japan-Philippine ties, particularly in defense cooperation, is critical as the Philippines recalibrates its strategy from internal to external defense capabilities. Both countries confront similarly complex maritime challenges from China in their respective territories. Tightening security relations will help both sides mitigate increased geopolitical and geoeconomic risks. Their common interest and commitment to foster a rules-based international order, complemented by various security and economic initiatives, strengthens their strategic partnership.
  • Kishida pledged continued support for the Philippines in the form of official development assistance and private-sector investments as it works to become an upper middle-income country. The visit reflects the confidence Filipinos have in Japan, which is consistently rated among the most trusted countries.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in the Philippines as they occur. If you have any questions or comments, please contact BGA Philippines Managing Director Victor Andres Manhit at

Best regards,

BGA Philippines Team