Groups stage protest at the Japanese embassy against the new military agreement between Japan and the Philippines

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Various mass organizations led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and the Asia-Wide Campaign against US-Japanese Domination and Aggression of Asia marched to the Japanese embassy in Pasay City today to condemn Japan and the Philippines for signing the military agreement Reciprocal Access Agreement. Bayan said the agreement is a dangerous step and will result in intensified militarization and conflict in the Asia Pacific.

Bayan emphasized that the agreement furthers the US imperialist’s “pivot in Asia” in which Japan and the Philippines are used to serve as “partners” in its efforts to contain rival imperialist China.

“The constant warmongering by the US escalates tensions in the region and increases the dangers of an open military conflict erupting in the region,” the group added.

The Filipino people should be concerned about Japan’s desire to expand its military presence without fully addressing and providing justice for its wartime victims, “particularly the horrific system of comfort women that devastated countless lives across Asia,” the group said.

Women members of Gabriela and Lila Pilpina, a group representing comfort women and their struggle for justice, joined the action at the embassy.

For Lila Pilipina, the return of Japan’s armed forces to the country and the Philippines’ agreement for military activities is a great injustice. Japan has yet to be held accountable for its crimes during World War II, and there has been no justice for the comfort women, but here they are again.

Amid all these, Bayan and other organizations forwarded a six-point call to unite more organizations and Filipinos who love true peace and freedom in the Asia Pacific.

They called for the immediate cancellation of the agreement between the Philippines and Japan; abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and other unequal military agreements between the Philippines and the US; true justice and reparations for all Japanese war victims; transfer of military funds to social services; Japan’s withdrawal from the war path and adherence to its constitutional provision for peace; and the Philippine government’s implementation of an independent foreign policy that will guide its dealings with China and the US-led coalition that includes Japan.

The immediate cancellation of the Philippines-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement; abrogation of the US Visiting Forces Agreement, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and all other agreements that heighten tensions in the region and tramples upon Philippine national sovereignty; genuine justice and reparations for all victims of Japanese wartime atrocities; rechanneling of military spending towards social services and people’s needs; that the Japanese government step back from the path of war and adhere to its constitutional provisions for peace; and that the Philippine government adopt an independent foreign policy that should guide all its dealings with both China and the US-led coalition that includes Japan.

AB: Groups stage protest at the Japanese embassy against the new military agreement between Japan and the Philippines