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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gov’t to back Japanese soldiers’ repatriation

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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. has assured Japanese officials that the Philippine government will support and cooperate in the repatriation efforts of the remains of Japanese soldiers who perished in the Philippines during World War II.

In his meeting with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) of Japan headed by Minister for Economic Affairs Nihei Daisuke of the Embassy of Japan, Abalos said his agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are ready to assist the Japanese government and will be closely working with them to ensure that the recovery and repatriation of the Japanese war-dead remains will be carried out smoothly.

“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,” he said.

Abalos said as the lead of the repatriation effort, the DILG is in a strategic position to ensure that the repatriation process will be well-coordinated at the local government unit (LGU) level where some of the remains lie.

He also said the DILG is ready to activate its resources and manpower to assist the Japanese government in consonance with the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) signed between the Philippine and Japanese governments to facilitate the proper collection, handling, storage, and shipment of the remains of Japanese soldiers.

In May 2018, the Philippines and Japan signed an MOC to facilitate the proper collection, handling, storage, and shipment of the remains of Japanese soldiers who died during World War II in the Philippines.

Also in attendance during the meeting are Counsellor and Health Attache Hori Kazuichiro and Second Secretary Matsushige Tomoaki from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines; Director Sato Hiroshi and Deputy Director Furukawa Kazuchika from MHLW of Japan; and DFA Deputy Assistant Secretary Raphael SC. Hermoso and Principal Assistant Mahgie Lacaba.

Over 300,000 remains of Japanese soldiers who died during World War II are still on the country’s grounds.

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