DAVAO CITY – As Japan’s reigning monarch makes a state visit to Philippines this week, activists here think it is time for the country to apologize for the brutalities its soldiers committed in the Philippines during World War II.
“We have not forgotten the cruelties and abuses inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Army against the Filipino people. There has not been any real closure of this matter and yet here we have the Aquino government inviting Japanese troops to our backyard,” Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairperson, said.
Crisostomo said activists demand the Japanese government to issue an official apology and provide state compensation for Filipino victims of Japanese brutalities during World War II.
Anakbayan also condemned plans to forge a Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippine and Japanese governments that will allow the stationing of Japanese troops on Philippine soil.
The youth group said any military agreement such as that will bring back the days of Japanese military occupation. Over a million Filipinos were killed by Japanese imperial forces during World War II while countless Filipinp women were forcibly taken to become Japanese soldiers’ sex slaves called “comfort women.”
“There can be no real resolution of Japan’s war crimes without addressing the demand for public apology and compensation,” said Crisostomo.
Crisostomo warned against the “double whammy against Philippine sovereignty” if a Philippine-Japan military agreement pushes through with Japanese forces joining American troops and military bases stationed in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday, January 26, and is scheduled to leave for Japan on Saturday, January 30.
The said visit is a response to President Benigno Aquino’s invitation to commemorate both countries’ diplomatic ties running for 60 years now.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the government expects to “deepen and expand bilateral relations” with Japan. (davaotoday.com)