Japan said concerns being raised by the Filipino "comfort women" have been addressed by its government, including recognition of the Imperial Japanese Army's atrocities and reparation claims.
In a statement, the Japanese Embassy in Manila made remarks on the various calls made by the surviving Filipino comfort women—or those who were sent to sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II—before Tokyo was due to present its human rights report for the Fourth Cycle of the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights.
According to the embassy, the Japanese government already expressed in 1993 "sincere apologies and remorse, recognizing this issue was severely injured the honor and dignity of a large number of women."
"The Government has since expressed its sincere apologies and remorse to the former comfort women on many occasions," it added.
Their statement came when Manila Bulletin asked for their comment after the surviving Filipino women and the organization that is helping them fight for justice called on Japan to acknowledge its war crimes.
On Jan. 31, they said it is unjust that the Japanese government continues "ignoring the issue of Filipino comfort women who have suffered long enough, more than half a century in silence."
"We urge Japan to finally acknowledge its war crimes against Asian nations and take the necessary steps toward a fair and long-overdue resolution of the 'comfort women' issue," the organization, Lila Pilipina, said in their statement.
Estelita Dy and Narcisa Claveria, two of the Filipino comfort women in their 90s, also dropped bouquets of flowers at the Japanese Embassy in Manila to stress their call.
The Japanese embassy also said reparations and property claims pertaining to WWII, "including the comfort women issues have already been legally settled."
This was the same clarification made by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) during a pre-departure briefing ahead of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s visit to Tokyo.
According to DFA, "all war-related claims are deemed to have been settled by our 1956 reparations agreement with Japan," although the Philippine government is still supportive of any private claims.
The embassy also said Japan also already provided "all possible assistance for the Asian Women's Fund (AWF), which was established for extending atonement to the former comfort women."