Philippines, Japan to repatriate Japanese WWII soldiers’ remains

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Philippines, Japan to repatriate Japanese WWII soldiers’ remains


Since 1958, the remains of only 100,000 out of 518,000 Japanese soldiers who died in the Philippines have been returned to Japan

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan finalized an agreement to cooperate in repatriating the remains of Japanese soldiers who died in the Southeast Asian country during World War II.

“The Philippines and Japan have officially concluded an agreement to cooperate in the humanitarian repatriation of the remains of World War II Japanese soldiers in the Philippines,” said the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday, May 9.

“This agreement will facilitate the proper collection, handling, storage, and shipment of these remains,” the DFA added in its news release on Wednesday.

The DFA said around 518,000 Japanese soldiers died in the Philippines during World War II. (READ: Japan’s discomfort with history and the PH dilemma)

Since 1958 under then president Carlos P. Garcia, the Philippines has “allowed Japan to undertake recovery missions in the country for humanitarian reasons.”

“Since then, the remains of 100,000 soldiers have been returned to Japan,” the DFA said. 

Recently, World War II issues between the Philippines and Japan came up again after a controversial comfort woman statue along Roxas Boulevard was removed.  

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the statue can be placed somewhere else because “it is not the policy of government to antagonize other nations,” in this case Japan, which complained about the statue. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email