You can say they were ‘bros for life’ with how Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was all smiles in his visit to the Philippines. More specifically, in President Rodrigo Duterte’s residence in Davao City.
It can be recalled it was Abe himself who expressed interest in visiting Duterte’s house personally.
He feasted on mungbean soup and rice cakes there Friday, and sampled the down-to-earth living of a volatile new friend who is shaking up the status quo in Asia.
With the backdrop of family photos, cups hanging from kitchen cabinets and clusters of used beer and wine bottles, Abe ate Duterte’s favourite breakfast in Davao City and was given a tour of his creaky, two-storey house, including a bedroom featuring the mosquito net he sleeps under on most weekends.
Duterte’s simple living is part of the man-of-the-people style that endeared him to the millions of Filipino voters who in May favored an abrasive city mayor over wealthy politicians on a largely Manila-centric ballot.
He is the first head of state to visit Duterte and arrived on Thursday offering a 1 trillion yen ($8.77 billion) aid and investment package aimed at boosting the flagging infrastructure of one of the world’s fastest growing economies, in which Japan is a top investor, donor and trade partner.
The two leaders, both dressed in short-sleeve shirts, did not discuss business on Friday and were photographed mostly eating local delicacies.
Japanese expats in Davao were also ecstatic at seeing Abe visiting their neighborhood, with Abe ending his Davao trip at a Japanese-language school where he was greeted by singing and flag-waving children.