Apologies for the Past

I first thought of just adding this to the quick links I posted earlier but then thought that maybe it needs a post of its own.

I think the Japanese tend to have a longer memory than Filipinos so it’s good that they continue to remind us of the lessons of the past. In the GMA News article which you will find below, two Japanese women went to Kiangan, Ifugao to apologize in behalf of some Japanese soldiers for the horrors of World War II.

I’m sure you’ll agree that apologies like these are welcome. Still, in addition to these individual apologies, the Japanese government should also apologize for forcing women to become sex slaves during the war. It’s refusal to apologize on this matter continues to be a thorn in Japan’s otherwise good relations with the Philippines as well as other parts of Asia.

Anyways, in case you missed our earlier posts on the heroism of our people during the second World War, here are the links: Those Gallant Igorots; A Video Documentary; Those Gallant Igorots: A Word From the Producers; and Major Dennis Molintas.

Japanese soldiers send apologies for WWII atrocities
From GMA News:

KIANGAN, Ifugao – A group of Japanese soldiers who served here in the last days of World War II last week apologized to the Filipinos for the war which brutalized millions.

The apology, which came in the form a videotape presented here by two young Japanese women, contained messages from the former soldiers who served in Kiangan, the site of one of the last major battles of World War II.

“Some really wanted to apologize in person to the Filipino people but they are too old to do so. They really wanted to unburden themselves,” said 28-year-old Akane Aigase, one of the women who brought the cassette disc.

“We are thinking of bringing some of them here,” she added.

Aigase and Naoko Jin, 30, are members of the Bridge for Peace whose members made the pilgrimage to the Kiangan Peace Memorial Shrine last week.

In the CD they showed, one of the Japanese members of the Imperial Army was still disturbed by the image of crying babies in Kiangan almost 70 years after the Pacific battle of WWII ended here.

The soldier said that the images of the babies continue to haunt him because some Japanese soldiers raped and killed the women in Cordillera and burnt their houses.

Aigase said that there is a need to reinforce values of peace so that wars like these would not be repeated.

Chito Generoso of the Interfaith Center for Culture and Nonviolence, who accompanied the two Japanese women, said that his group is working with the Bridge for Peace to espouse the value of conflict transformation and peace through negotiations.

Kiangan is where then Japanese Imperial Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita, known as the Tiger of Malaya, surrendered on September 1, 1945.

His surrender in Kiangan took place simultaneously with Japan’s formal surrender to the Allied Supreme Commander in the Pacific, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.

Hundreds of Filipino, American and Japanese soldiers and Ifugao villagers were killed during the massive strafing here, particularly in Mt. Napulawan.

One of the hills here – known as the Million Dollar Hill – is now a mound. It earned its name because of the millions of dollars of bombs exploded in the area.

The Kiangan peace Shrine was built here in 1974 and has since been a favorite of relatives of the Japanese soldiers who died there. – GMANews.TV

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