Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura flew to Cotabato City and met with the local mayor Muslimin Sema, also the Secretary General of the former Muslim rebel group, Moro National Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996.
Katsura also inaugurated a center that offers women training on mat weaving.
Katsura was also accompanied by Yasunori Nakayama, the Embassy’s political minister; Yoshihisa Ishikawa, the Embassy’s First Secretary and Nagaishi Masafumi, senior advisor for reconstruction and development of Mindanao program and also a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT).
Manila is currently negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is fighting the past three decades for the establishment of a strict Islamic state in Mindanao. (Abdullah Cusain)