Japan is expanding its presence and consular operations in Mindanao with the inauguration of its newest Japan Consulate-General in Davao City on Sunday, 10 February, the Japanese Embassy said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono graced the occasion led by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda.
The official opening followed the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the city in January 2017, which guided the entry of investment opportunities in the area, particularly in the agriculture sector.
However, aside from the investment prospects in the region, the envoy said Tokyo seeks to attract more Filipinos to visit Japan as he cited the growing tourist arrival from the Philippines in the past few years.
“Last year, half a million Filipinos visited Japan and it expanded six times over the last six years and we’d like to welcome more visitors,” Haneda said.
“Visa has been relaxed for some while and now we are giving you a 10-year visa starting last August. We would like to welcome more Filipinos,” he added.
Japan is similarly a top source market for the Philippines.
Data from the Department of Tourism showed that the Japanese market yielded a total of 631,801 tourists in 2018 alone, reflecting an 8.1 percent growth from the previous 584,180 figures. Manila is targeting to increase visitor arrivals from Japan to 1.37 million in 2022.
Meanwhile, Japan is hyping up the promotion of Saga Prefecture, popular for the trademark Saga beef that rivals the more prominent Kobe Wagyu for its finely marbled meat and sweet, full-bodied flavor when grilled.
On Friday night, Saga Governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi visited Manila to promote their tourism products at the “Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Saga” reception in Makati.
“There’s a lot of foreigners, including Filipinos, come here (Saga). We are enthusiastic to attract more,” Yamaguchi said.
Saga is located in the north of Kyushu and is bordered by Fukuouka Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture.