In just over seven months since taking office, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has conducted as many as eight foreign trips. He kicked off the new year with a state visit to China and, shortly after, to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.

At the heart of Marcos’ hyperdiplomacy is to “re-introduce” the Philippines after six years of populist catastrophe under Rodrigo Duterte, who cussed at Western allies, acquiesced to China and unleashed a deadly “drug war” that has triggered an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

Marcos’ four-day working visit to Japan this week, however, will be his most important diplomatic mission yet. Over the past few decades, Japan has been the Philippines’ leading source of foreign investment and aid as well as a top export destination. Crucially, the Northeast Asian nation has also emerged as a major defense partner for the Philippines amid rising tensions in the South China Sea.