Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) criticized the plan of the Marcos Jr. regime to sign a military agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as Japan and the Philippines started negotiations on a recriprocal troop access deal last 3 November.
According to Bayan, the said agreement is meant to allow the entry of Japanese Self-Defense Forces to the Philippines in the form of war games.
The troop pact would follow a similar deal the Philippines has with the United States called the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). The VFA has been heavily criticized for providing license to US troops to maintain permanent presence in the Philippines and for violating the nation’s sovereignty.
“This security agreement is part of the whole US network in the region where Japan serves as the US stooge and the Philippines is an important part in the war machinery of the US in the region,” Bayan said in a statement.
Japan, as one of the United States’ closes allies in the Asian region has historically taken a strong line against China amid decades-old disputes over maritime sovereignty. Japan does not have any claim to the South China Sea, but a separate maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea.
Japan also has Reciprocal Access Agreements with the Untied Kingdom and Australia and hosts the biggest concentration of US military bases abroad with 120 active bases to date second only to Germany which hosts 119 US bases.
In addition to the “visiting forces agreement” being negotiated, Japan is set to provide military equipment to the Philippines including a maritime surveillance radar as part of Japan’s Official Security Assistance. The Philippines is the first country to receive this form of military aid from Japan with at least $4 million of grants meant to improve the country’s coastal radar capability according to reports.
Japan’s decision to expand the scope of international aid to military-related projects follows Tokyo’s announcement last December of a doubling of defense spending in five years as it boosts efforts to confront China and North Korea upon the prodding of US. Ahead of its visit, Japan announced the delivery of the first air surveillance radar system to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as part of a 2020 contract.
According to Bayan, the Philippines must demand Japan to issue an official apology and renumerations for the victims of rape and war crimes committed by Japan to Filipinos during World War II. “How can we accept as a nation to invite Japanese troops to our land when the Filipinos violated and abused during the time of war still have not received justice?” Bayan asked.
In a 19-page decision of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women last March, it criticized the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for failing to provide justice to “comfort women” who were raped by Japanese soldiers during Japan’s occupation of the Philippines.