According to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan[Japanese], Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a meeting with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, who came to Japan to take part in the seminar organized by Nikkei Inc., on 23 May 2007. The two leaders primarily talked about bilateral economic cooperation, including the pending Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two countries.
The EPA was signed by the both countries in September 2006 and approved by the Japanese Diet in December 2006. The Philippines has not ratified it yet, however, because the parliamentarians and civil society organizations have expressed strong concern over the possible "liberalization" of the export of hazardous wastes from Japan to the Philippines and because the Senate election was held on 14 May 2007.
In this regard, President Arroyo explained, "I would like to accelerate the approval process in the Senate of the Philippines by the exchange of the notes between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, confirming that hazardous wastes would not be exported under the Japan-Philippines EPA".
Prime Minister Abe stated that he "expects further advancement of the implementation of specific measures" to put an end to a series of political killings (extrajudicial execution) that are happening in the Philippines in recent years. At a summit meeting in the Philippines in December 2006, he had conveyed "strong interest in Japan" over the issue.
President Arroyo responded, "Political killings are horrible and intolerable, and we have taken some measures since December last year". She went on to explain about the allocation of financial resources to fact-finding inquiries, the establishment of a special court, the organization of military court trials for the concerned military personnel and the policy of economic support to the victims of human rights violations.
Meanwhile, Japanese civil society organizations and associations of Filipino residents in Japan, being concerned about political killings in the Philippines, submitted petitions on 22 May, the day when President Arroyo arrived in Japan, to the President and the relevant ministries through the Embassy of the Philippines in Tokyo. In the petitions, they demanded sincere efforts for the solution of the problem. On the same day, civil society organizations held protest rallies on the same time at three different places, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, holding up posters that carried such messages as "President Arroyo, Stop Assassinations".
· Japan-Philippines Summit Meeting (Summary), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, 23 May 2007 [Japanese]
· Meeting between Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, MOFA, 24 May 2007 [English]
· Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (MOFA)
· ADB Annual Meeting in Kyoto: Parallel Citizens' Forum Express Concern about Japan's Wastes Export Policy (Hurights Osaka News in Brief, May 2007)
· Prime Minister Abe Told President Arroyo of "Strong Interest" in Japan over Human Rights Situation in Philippines (Hurights Osaka News in Brief, December 2006)