Philippine Embassy Marks 126th Independence Day, Celebrates PH-Japan Relations, Filipino Community

TOKYO – Philippine Ambassador to Japan Mylene Garcia-Albano led the embassy’s diplomatic reception at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo on June 12, commemorating the 126th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence and highlighting strengthened ties with Japan and the robust Filipino community in the Land of the Rising Sun.

“Today, Filipinos around the world remember the unwavering spirit and sacrifices of our forefathers whose courage and determination won the freedoms we now enjoy,” said the envoy at the outset of her speech.

“It is also an occasion to celebrate the enduring and ever-strengthening partnership between the Philippines and Japan—a partnership that has transformed and grown over the years, driven by mutual respect, shared values, and a common vision for the future,” she continued.

Garcia-Albano emphasized the “new era of cooperation” between the Philippines and Japan, which she said was “underscored by strategic imperatives.”

“Our economic partnership is a cornerstone of this relationship,” she remarked. “Japan stands as one of the Philippines’ most vital partners in trade, investments and development assistance. Japanese investments have significantly contributed to our nation’s economic growth, fostering innovation and creating jobs for countless Filipinos.”

She also underscored Japan’s contributions to the country’s infrastructure development, while mentioning the partnership between the two nations across multiple sectors, including education, cultural exchanges, defense, security, and maritime cooperation.

Furthermore, the ambassador spotlighted the people-to-people ties between the two countries, noting that more than 300,000 Filipinos currently live and work in Japan.

“Today, we also celebrate you—your hard work, dedication, and the invaluable contributions you have made to strengthening the bonds between our two nations. Whether you are healthcare professionals, engineers, artists, educators, or skilled workers, you have showcased the resilience, talent, and warmth that define the Filipino spirit,” she stated.

She expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for its unwavering commitment to promoting the rights and welfare of Filipinos living in Japan, and to the Japanese people for their “deep and abiding friendship.”

Meanwhile, in her congratulatory remarks, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa stressed the significant advancements in the strategic partnership between the two countries, including Japan’s extensive support for Philippine infrastructure projects, progress in security and defense cooperation, and increased people-to-people exchanges.

“Japan and the Philippines, neighbors linked by the ocean, are strategic partners. Looking back on the past year, cooperation between Japan and the Philippines has developed dramatically in a wide range of areas, including through mutual visits by the leaders of our two countries and meetings between Secretary [Enrique] Manalo and myself,” she said.

Other guests at the event included Japanese Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara, who along with the ambassador, led a toast to the continued strength of Philippines-Japan relations, and to the prosperity and well-being of both nations. 

Also in attendance were Hiroshi Moriyama, Chairman of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship League; Natsuo Yamaguchi, Chief Representative of Komeito; and Masahito Moriyama, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The well-attended gathering provided guests with a unique opportunity to experience and appreciate various facets of Philippine history, heritage, culture, cuisine, products, and tourist attractions under the theme, “Kalayaan. Kinabukasan. Kasaysayan (Freedom, Future, History).” - Florenda Corpuz