Courtesy call leaves Duterte in awe of Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko » Manila Bulletin News



By Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was not only humbled by his rare meeting with the Royal Imperial couple of Japan, but was also amazed by the “simplicity and deportment” shown by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan.

Japan Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. (AP)

The President met the Japanese royal couple for the first time Tuesday, and extended the Filipino nation’s gratitude for Japan’s friendship and support over the years.

Duterte was accompanied by his partner Cielito Avanceña during the royal audience that reportedly lasted 25 minutes.

“You know what, I have been to many places and palaces of great leaders and people. This is the first time na nakita ko pinaka-simpleng palasyo (that I saw a very simple palace),” the President said about his meeting with the royal couple.

He bared his observations upon arrival in Davao City Tuesday night from his two-day official visit to Japan.

“Trees surround the Palace but it is just a small place. And even his — ‘yung sala niya, the receiving room, wala kang makitang picture (You won’t see a single picture in his receiving room). It’s really a bland thing actually and he lives very simply,” he said.

Duterte also observed the proper demeanor of the Emperor and Empress during their meeting.

“The King is very soft-spoken, lalo na ‘yun si Her Majesty Michiko… Talagang extra — ‘yung ano nila, ‘yung deportment, really, parang ano talaga — befitting the title of Majesty (Their deportment is befitting the title of Majesty),” he said.

Duterte said he and the Emperor did not talk about government policies as “the Majesty limits himself to social functions.”

“We (did) not talk about policy of governments and even in matters of governmental concern on both sides. He is just, you know, he’s just limiting himself to the imperial duties and rule the nation as a sovereign head,” he said.

Instead, the Philippine leader extended the Filipino nation’s gratitude to Japan for being a true friend of the country.

“I am humbled by the singular honor of meeting His Majesty, Emperor Akihito in Tokyo,” he said.

“I conveyed to His Majesty our nation’s and people’s deep appreciation, gratitude for Japan’s continuing friendship and support for the Philippines’ peace and development goals,” he said.

Duterte, known for his vulgar language, earlier said he was going to watch his words in his meeting with the Japanese royal couple.

He was supposed to pay a courtesy call on the Emperor inghis first visit to Tokyo in October 2016, but this was cancelled as the royal family was grieving the death of Prince Mikasa, the Emperor’s uncle.


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