Last week Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte broke with tradition by making a state visit to China before making one to the United States. He also managed to snub Japan with the trip.
Though he’s visiting Japan this week, from Oct. 25 to 27, originally Duterte had scheduled Tokyo to be his first state visit to a major country. The Japanese “were really glad that they were considered as the first outside-ASEAN visit,” noted Richard Javad Heydarian, a political scientist at De La Salle University in Manila.
Japan is the largest source of foreign direct investment into the Philippines, which has overtaken Thailand and Vietnam as the investment destination of choice among Japanese companies deploying a “China plus one” strategy to cope with rising labor costs in China. Japan is also the largest export market for the Philippines.