Construction of comfort women statue no effect on ties with Japan, Roque says
Malacanang expressed belief on Monday that the construction of a statue for comfort women in Manila would not affect the "good bilateral" relationship with Japan.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration has no official position on the issue of comfort women.
"The fact that the statue was unveiled --- well, is a fact. It was not stopped by the government. So for all intents and purposes, there is a statue allowed to be erected in memory of the comfort women," Roque said.
Asked if the government supports the construction of the comfort woman statute, Roque said, "it does not support, it does not oppose. It has no position currently."
Aging Filipino comfort women who became sex slaves by the Japanese soldiers during World II have been asking for a public apology and compensation from the Japanese government, among others. But Japan has refused to heed the call.
Asked if the unveiling of the statue could somehow affect the relationship of the Philippines and Japan, Roque, who used to be a lawyer of a group of Filipino comfort women, said, "I don’t think so because the relationship is at (a) record close, if there is such a thing."
"And I don’t think this will, in any way, affect our very good bilateral relationship with Japan right now," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS