Japan will always seek peace, not war – envoy
BAGUIO CITY, Benguet Philippines — Japan invoked peace in front of a war memorial here on Sunday as the world reels from disputes in the South China Sea and rising tensions between the West and Iran.
“[Japan] will adhere to our oath not to appeal to war again and we will forever contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world as a peace-loving nation,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda said on Sunday.
“We must never forget that the peace we are enjoying today was built on sacrifices,” Haneda said, referring to about a million Filipinos and 500,000 Japanese soldiers who perished during World War II.
“I hereby reconfirm our nation’s determination that we will never repeat those disasters,” he told an audience that included Mayor Benjamin Magalong, businessmen and descendants of Japanese workers who settled in Baguio after helping build Kennon Road.
They gathered at the Japanese Garden here for the 10th Filipino-Japanese Friendship Day, offering white flowers and lighting candles and burning incense in honor of those killed during the war.
“Standing still in front of this memorial monument here, I cannot help but wonder what hardships our countrymen bore during that time no matter how many years have passed since then,” Haneda said.
“At the same time, we Japanese people must never forget the tremendous sacrifices of many Filipinos,” he said, adding that “during these postwar years, Japan and the Philippines have built a wonderful relationship beyond the afflictions of war.”
The participants read aloud a prayer calling on the rain “to wash away ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations.”
“Let the warmth of the sun … burn away the fog so we can see each other clearly. So that we can see beyond labels, beyond accents, gender, skin color and cultural differences,” they said. —Vincent Cabreza
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