MANILA – A group of Filipino women forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in the 1940s has blasted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
In a statement Friday, Richilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilipina (League of Filipino Grandmothers), said the group “strongly condemns the action of Abe in honoring the dead at Yasukuni Shrine, treating war criminals as heroes without settling Japan’s war crime and without acknowledgment, recognition and accountability of its past war crime.”
Abe’s pilgrimage on Thursday to the Shinto facility drew stinging criticism from China and South Korea, which regard it as symbol of Japan’s past militarism and wartime aggression.
The Philippine government has not issued a comment on the matter.
Extremadura said Abe’s visit highlighted the government’s refusal to grant justice to victims of the Imperial military’s forced prostitution of Asian women, whom her group represents and who are known euphemistically as “comfort women” in Japan.
“The grandmothers are aging fast and are getting weaker, without getting justice,” she said, adding that last weekend, one of them, Anastasia Cortez, died at the age of 93.