DFA: 'Comfort women’ issue not on agenda of Marcos' Japan visit

DFA: 'Comfort women� issue not on agenda of Marcos' Japan visit
Members of the Lila Pilipina lay flowers at the pedestal of a statue depicting a Filipino ‘comfort woman’ to mark the 30th anniversary of the ‘Flowers for Lolas’ campaign in Baclaran, Parañaque yesterday. The statue, shown in a tarpaulin beside the pedestal, remains missing after it was stolen from artist Jonas Roces’ studio in 2019. The statue was installed along the Baywalk in Manila in 2017 but was removed months later for a drainage improvement project.
Krizjohn Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Compensation for "comfort women" — who were forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines – is not among discussion points that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will bring up during his official working visit to Japan.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the issues had already been settled upon the signing of the 1956 Reparations Agreement with Japan, when it provided the Philippines around $550 million worth of goods and services. 

"We will not stop the victims (from demanding that) — because this is an atrocious violence against women during the war — but, as far as government is concerned, we’ve already signed that reparations agreement with Japan in 1956," Nathaniel Imperial, assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs at the DFA, said in a media briefing on Wednesday. 

Marcos Jr., along with a number of Philippine officials and a business delegation, will be in Japan next week from February 8 to 12 for an official working visit upon the invitation of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

RELATED: Seven key bilateral agreements expected from Marcos’ Japan working visit

According to the Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women’s Fund digital museum, there were around 30 comfort stations in the Philippines. This means that there were 30 brothels — garrisons, converted hospitals, and some even the houses of the women themselves — where Japanese soldiers would abuse young women, mostly aged 12 to 17 years old

The women, who were forced into providing sexual "services" to the soldiers, were confined in the converted brothels for from a week to over a year. 

Lila Pilipina, an organization of sexual abuse victims of military personnel, recently urged Japan to "finally acknowledge its war crimes against Asian nations and take necessary steps" to resolve the "comfort women issue."

"We are outraged that Japan has chosen to once again ignore the issue of its wartime military sex slavery of thousands of Asian women in the fourth human rights report it submitted to the UN Human Right Council," Lila Pilipina said in a statement dated January 31. 

The group also called on Japan to hold a dialogue with Filipino "comfort women" and acknowledge what they had to go through to put the issue at rest.

READ: 'Comfort women' to Marcos Jr.: Bring our plight to Japan

The government has generally shied away from the issue of comfort women. In 2018, a statue along Roxas Boulevard in Manila depicting a comfort woman was removed, reportedly at the request of the Japanese government.

"We can place it somewhere else. If you want to place it in a private property, fine. Insofar as I am concerned, tapos na iyan (that’s over)," President Rodrigo Duterte said then

"The Japanese have paid dearly for that. The reparation started many years ago. Let us not insult them. It is not the policy of the government to antagonize other nations," he added. 

The statue has since gone missing.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with