Survivors and descendants of the victims of the 1945 Battle of Manila are pressing Japan to apologize for atrocities committed by its forces that left tens of thousands dead.

Juan Jose Rocha, head of the Memorare-Manila 1945 Foundation, a group of survivors and descendants of noncombatant victims of the battle, said during a memorial ceremony Saturday that an apology by Japan "is long overdue."

"The purpose of our group is not to recriminate, nor to seek compensation, but just to commemorate and request Japan to recognize what they did here," Rocha said at the ceremony held in front of a monument erected by his group 20 years ago. The monument memorializes the approximately 100,000 civilians who died during the Battle of Manila, which lasted from Feb. 3 to March 3, 1945, toward the end of World War II.