Recently, the defense secretaries of Japan and the Philippines agreed on “enhanced defense cooperation.” As Tokyo and Washington would like Manila to join the Indo-Pacific coalition, even mangoes and bananas play a role.
THE headlines were ecstatic: “Japan’s defense chief stuns Lorenzana with PH mementos during meeting” (Inquirer, June 4, 2021).
During a videoconference with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi adorned “his table with Philippine fruits like mangoes and bananas” plus “a scale model of a jeepney” (see figure 1).
FIGURE 1 KISHI-LORENZANA INTERNET CONFERENCE
Moved by the Japanese courteousness, Lorenzana said he “looked forward to the…