Japan-PH military pact is another step in US imperialism’s march towards war

Statement of the NDFP International Office

The recently signed Japan-Philippines Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) betrays the victims of Japanese war crimes against the Filipino people during World War II and dangerously positions the country on the front lines of war . By allowing the deployment of Japanese soldiers on Philippine soil for so-called joint military exercises, the Marcos Jr. and Kishida administrations are shameless puppets in the elaborate war preparations orchestrated by the US in its march toward an armed confrontation with China.

The RAA with Japan comes at the heels of US overtures to strengthen military alliances in the Indo-Pacific region in its continuing ‘first island chain strategy’ to encircle China. The RAA with Japan allows Japanese military to freely enter and exit the Philippines for combat training including live-fire drills – akin to the lopsided Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) of the Philippines with the US government which the latter has been using to justify its provocative saber rattling against China.

According to both parties, the so-called defense pact is meant to help the Philippines defend its territory against an increasingly assertive China. Aside from trampling on Philippine sovereignty, the RAA risks further embroiling the Philippines in the middle of a potential hot war, sacrificing Filipino lives and sovereignty on the altar of American imperialist ambitions. 

The wounds of the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II run deep, marked by unspeakable atrocities and brutality against the Filipino people. Around 1,000 Filipinas some as young as 12 years old, were enslaved and turned into ‘comfort women’ during the war. Japanese soldiers killed an estimated 527,000 Filipinos until they were driven away by the Communist Party-led Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap), ending Japan’s three-year military occupation of the country. Marcos Jr.’s military pact with Japan represents a profound betrayal of war crime victims who continue to cry for justice until today.

The Japan-Philippines Reciprocal Access Agreement marks a dangerous precedent, undermining prospects for a peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts in the region while stoking the flames of  war. The path to lasting peace lies not in the buildup of military personnel and materiel that serve US war designs against China.