Statement of Commission One on the Japanese Emperor’s Visit to the Philippines

January 26, 2016

We, the Commission 1* of the International League of People’s Struggle, vigorously protest the visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to the Philippines, which is scheduled on January 26-30, 2016.

This is the first time after World War II that a sitting emperor of Japan will visit the Philippines. During the visit, the Imperial couple plan to meet Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacañang Palace in Manila and visit memorial sites of Japanese and Filipino veterans in Laguna, a province near Metro Manila. The ruling big comprador-landlord class in the Philippines, particularly President Aquino, whose grandfather and namesake was a top collaborator of the Japanese fascist invaders in World War II, is celebrating this visit as a “historic” event. But for the Filipino and other peoples of the Asia Pacific, region, this is no time for celebration.

In line with its war of aggression in the Asia-Pacific, Japanese imperialism occupied the Philippines from 1941 to 1945. The Filipino people organized the Hukbalahap or Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon (People’s Army Against Japan) and waged armed struggle and other forms of resistance to oppose Japanese military rule. The Japanese imperial forces suppressed the Filipino people’s opposition cruelly and killed one million Filipinos.

During the four- year occupation, the Filipino people suffered tremendously at the hands of Japanese forces. People suspected of going against them were imprisoned or massacred at random, especially during the Japanese retreat in Manila in 1945. Many people were wantonly killed, while others suffered hunger and disease, and thousands lost their livelihood.

In addition, countless women were taken forcibly by Japanese soldiers and made into sex slaves – the so-called “comfort women”.

It bears mentioning however that during the course of the Japanese retreat, it was the US that destroyed the social infrastructure and private buildings considered as bulwarks as the occupiers.

The people in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region have never forgotten the crimes and brutalities which the Japanese Imperial Army had committed. The Japanese government, however, has not provided an official and clear apology, nor implemented state compensation based on its legal responsibility to war victims, including Japanese sexual slavery.

Former Japanese Emperor Hirohito, father of the present Emperor Akihito, had supreme power during the era when Japanese imperialism carried out the wars of aggression in the whole Asia-Pacific region. The emperor system took a key function for mobilizing the Japanese people for the war. However, the war responsibility of Hirohito and the role of the emperor system was disregarded even in the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals.

Even after Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945, the emperor system still survived though there were some changes in its form. It continued to be regarded as the “symbol of the State and the unity of the Japanese people”.

The Japanese emperor’s visit to the Philippines is a political act which reflects the will of the Abe administration and the monopoly capitalist ruling class in Japan. The Japanese and Philippine authorities intend to take advantage of this visit to ‘ease’ the Filipino people’s anger over the past Japanese occupation, with Akihito providing vague words about Japan’s responsibility for the war. They hope to ‘resolve’ the issues of Japan’s war responsibility without a genuine apology and state compensation to the victims.

Under the baton of US imperialism and the US military pivot to Asia, the Japanese ruling class aims to expand and develop the military collaboration between Japan and the Philippines. Now, Japan is escalating its militarization through the new security legislation which enables Japanese Self Defense Forces to commit directly its war acts overseas under the pretext of ‘exercising its Right of Self-Defense’. Both Japan and the Philippine are treaty allies of the US and are being mobilized to support the US rebalancing and dominance in Asia. Japan hosts vast US bases while the Philippines through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, will soon see the return of US bases to its shores.

As part of its military maneuvers, the Japanese government plans to forge with the Philippine government a possible PH-JPN Visiting Forces Agreement, similar to the PH-US VFA, to allow the stationing of Japanese forces in the Philippines and participation in joint war exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

We, the Commission One of the International League of People’s Struggle, therefore, oppose the Japanese emperor’s visit to the Philippines which links Japanese imperialist schemes for consolidation of its control in the Asia-Pacific region. We demand an official and clear apology and state compensation for all the victims of Japan’s war of aggression, occupation and colonization.

Justice for all war victims!
No to Japan’s remilitarization!
Oppose the consolidation of US-Japanese military alliance in Asia-Pacific!
Down with US and Japan Imperialism!
Long live the anti-imperialist solidarity of the Filipino and Japanese peoples!
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*ILPS Commission 1, The Cause of National and Social Liberation Against Imperialism and All Reaction