Flags a-flutter in a fitting welcome for Japan's visiting Emperor and Empress. Image credit: Robert Viñas / MPB.

Japan’s Emperor Akihito said on Tuesday that Japan must remember the enormous lost of life in the in the Philippines in World War II, as he and his wife visit the Philippines, which suffered during Japan’s imperial expansion and a former World War II site.

The “Battle of Manila” between Allied US and Philippine forces against the Imperial Army of Japan from February 3 – March 3, 1945 which culminated in a terrible bloodbath and leveled the capital city, left more than 100,000 dead, according to Philippine historians.

Destruction at the Walled City (Intramuros district) of old Manila in May 1945 — after the Battle of Manila. Source: Wikipedia
Destruction at the Walled City (Intramuros district) of old Manila in May 1945 — after the Battle of Manila. Source: Wikipedia

“Many Filipinos, Americans and Japanese lost their lives in the Philippines during the war,” Emperor Akihito said in a statement he read before departing from Tokyo. “Especially in the battle in Manila, a tremendously large number of innocent Filipino civilians were victims. Upon making this visit, we need to bear this in mind at all times.”

Japan and Philippines’ relation improves over time since the war, as Japan becomes major trading partner and aid donor for the Philippines. The Emperor’s visit is seen as a strong sign of a further deepening of ties between the two countries which are both allies of the United States and both ally in confronting China over a long-contested maritime territories.

Japan which providing the Philippines with coast guard patrol vessels and military equipment, staged a joint search and rescue exercises with the Philippine navy near the disputed South China Sea. -John Esconde

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