Malacañang cited Thursday the election of new Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and disclosed that the government is ready to work with him to bring Philippines-Japan relations to greater heights.

000 8Q39JA - Manila cites election of new Japan PM
Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attends his first press conference in Tokyo on September 16, 2020. (Photo by Carl Court / various sources / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque congratulated the 71-year-old politician for his election as the next Japanese next prime minister by the lower house of parliament Wednesday.

Roque said that the Philippines is ready to work with Suga’s administration.

“Congratulations po sa bagong Prime Minister po ng Japan (to the new prime minister of Japan),” Roque said.

“The Duterte administration is ready to work with Prime Minister Suga in further strengthening the strategic bilateral cooperation building on the special relationship established with former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo,” he added.

According to Roque, the Duterte administration is committed to working with the new Japanese government to boost the country’s ties.

“The Philippines considers Japan as a close friend – a friend closer than a brother,” he said. “We are committed to making these ties move from strength to greater strength,” he added.

Suga replaced Abe after he resigned due to his poor health. He promised to continue Abe’s signature economic policies known as “Abenomics.”

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, went down a record 27.8 percent from April to June due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Suga, a former Chief Cabinet Secretary, has appointed a new Cabinet shortly after his election, keeping about half of the people from Abe’s lineup.

In a phone conversation last week, President Duterte thanked Abe for his role in strengthening the robust relationship between Japan and the Philippines.

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