MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is ready to assist Japan in repatriating the remains of Japanese soldiers who died in the country during World War II, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Sunday.
Interior and local government chief Benhur Abalos met with Japanese officials Thursday and committed that the DILG and the Department of Foreign Affairs will ensure the smooth recovery and repatriation of the remains of Japanese soldiers.
“Japan remains one of the closest partners and allies of the Philippine government and we are ready to assist them in the recovery of the remains of their fallen soldiers,” Abalos said.
Around 518,000 Japanese soldiers perished in their occupation of the Philippines during World War II. According to the DILG, over 300,000 remains of Japanese soldiers are still in the country.
The Philippines, under then President Carlos Garcia, allowed Japan to conduct recovery missions in the country for humanitarian reasons starting in 1958. Since then, the remains of around 100,000 soldiers have been returned to the East Asian nation.
Manila and Tokyo signed a memorandum of cooperation in 2018 resuming the collection of the remains of Japanese soldiers after the activity was suspended in 2010.
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Japanese soldiers raped and killed women and children during their occupation of the Philippines from 1941 to 1945. The four-year war in the country killed more than a million Filipinos including non-combatants. — Gaea Katreena Cabico