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PH accepts Japan’s ‘non-apology’ over WWII atrocities

The Philippines is apparently accepting the controversial “non-apologetic” remarks of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Japanese atrocities committed during World War II, with Filipino executive and diplomatic officials saying the Philippines has rebuilt a “strong friendship” with its former enemy and that Japan’s actions since the middle of the 20th century have been done with compassion and in accordance with international law.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario issued a statement on Friday reacting positively to Abe’s speech marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in which Abe expressed “profound grief” for the millions of people killed as a result of Japan’s war of aggression in East Asia, but stopped short of making his own apology.

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Since the war, Japan has “acted with compassion” which has led to a relationship characterized by trust and unfailing support in so many fields, said Del Rosario.

“This 70-year history demonstrates to the world that through their relentless efforts, peoples of the two countries can attain a remarkable achievement in overcoming issues of the past and establishing a strong friendship,” he added.

Japan is now the Philippines’ biggest source of development assistance and the two countries have also been strengthening defense cooperation in the face of separate territorial disputes with China.

Del Rosario’s comments were in sharp contrast to the reactions of China and South Korea and other Asian victims of Japan’s aggression, which criticized Abe’s statement for lacking a proper apology and even being defiant in some parts.

China called it a “non-apology.”

Like China and South Korea, the Philippines suffered from the abuse of Japanese soldiers, particularly the exploitation of Filipino women.

‘Unshakeable’

In his war-anniversary speech, Abe said Japan’s repeated past “heartfelt apologies” would remain unshakeable, but that future Japanese generations should not have to keep apologizing.

A few Japanese leaders had apologized for wartime atrocities, including forcibly taking women and girls in China, South Korea and the other Asian countries like the Philippines, to be “comfort women” or sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. But Abe, the grandson of a wartime Cabinet minister, did not offer an apology of his own.

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In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government recognized how postwar Japan had become a strong peace and development partner of the Philippines and that Japan had acted “with compassion and in accordance with international law” after the war.

“I think one point that we agree on along with the rest of the world on Japan [is] that we must never again repeat the devastation of war, and that was very clearly stated there,” Valte said, in response to questions from reporters about the Palace reaction to Abe’s statement.

Compassionate

“Japan has acted with compassion and in accordance with international law, and has more actively engaged—more actively and more positively engaged with the region and the world after the war,” she said.

Valte said the government has been “checking the progress of initiatives or courses of action that were mentioned during the President’s visit” to Japan in June.

She said Mr. Aquino wanted an update on the actions taken by the Philippine government in helping the Filipino comfort women, many of whom are now in the twilight of their years.

Valte said Mr. Aquino also said in that visit “the relationship of the Philippines with Japan has been characterized by trust and unfailing support in so many fields.”

Japan and the United States are the only two countries that the Philippines has strategic partnerships with aimed at strengthening defense ties.

The strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan is becoming more significant as both countries face maritime disputes with China.

Philippine defense officials have pointed out that the military cooperation between Japan and the Philippines will promote security and stability in the region that is threatened by China’s island-building frenzy. With AFP and AP reports

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TAGS: Albert Del Rosario, history, Philippine history, sex slaves, Shinzo Abe, World War II, WWII
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