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7月14日のまにら新聞から

70th anniversary of Quirino's pardon for Japanese prisoners of war marked

[ 454 words|2023.7.14|英字 (English) ]

The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation marked the 70th anniversary of the presidential pardon for the 105 Japanese prisoners of war at the Muntinlupa Museum.

In a speech on a rainy Thursday, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that the 1953 pardon was the “impetus” that paved the way for bilateral ties between the two countries in 1956.

“As Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, I am deeply grateful to President Quirino for making this decision with an eye to the future of Japan-Philippines relations. At the time, many Japanese people expressed their profound gratitude for his compassionate gesture which had a decisive and lasting impact on our bilateral ties,” Koshikawa said.

Quirino's wife, three children and other members of his family were killed by the Japanese during World War II.

''No words can describe now conflicted he must have felt as he came to his decision, considering that several of his family members tragically lost their lives to the Japanese during the war,'' said the ambassador.

''Ultimately, his magnanimity, compassion and prudence led him to 'forgive the unforgivable', as the artist Kano Kanrai appealed in one of his petition letters to President Quirino,'' said Koshikawa.

The envoy also cited Alfredo Bunye, then superintendent in the Bureau of Prisons in Muntinlupa where the Japanese were detained. ''He treated the Japanese prisoners with humanity and respect, despite the fact that his own father was executed by the Japanese,'' said Koshikawa.

''Indeed, he and President Quirino are true exemplars of the humanity of Filipinos,'' he added.

The 105 Japanese war criminals were released and repatriated on July 15, 1953. Quirino, who lost his re-election bid in 1953, passed away in 1956.

Koshikawa said Japan and the Philippines now stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” as like-minded friends and strategic partners with an amicable and trusting relationship.

“This remarkable development in our friendship would have been impossible without the diligent efforts of President Quirino and our predecessors,” he said.

Koshikawa said that President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s visit to Japan in February will help the ties between the Philippines and Japan “flourish further”.

He underscored that after Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had a summit meeting, they agreed to “promote cooperation in a wide range of areas such as economy, defense, security, and people-to-people exchanges”.

“I firmly believe that the powerful friendship our countries share today is the wonderful legacy of President Quirino, and it is our duty to treasure and strengthen it even more,” Koshikawa said

“It is my hope that we will continue to foster deeper friendship and cooperation amongst our people, with an eye to a brighter future of Japan-Philippines relations as President Quirino envisioned,” he added. Jaspearl Tan/DMS