Soon after WWII efforts to normalize diplomatic ties and economic relations between Philippines and Japan started with trade agreements and claims for reparations during Pres. Quirino’s term. Although the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which required Japan to pay for the damages it caused during the war, was signed in September 9, 1951 by 48 countries the Philippines did not sign the treaty due to reservations concerning reparations. However, a series of negotiations with Japan followed. In 1953 Pres. Quirino pardoned Japanese war criminals, first with death sentences reduced to life imprisonment, and finally the release of prinoners in 1953. His decision was made on his belief that “the Philippines and Japan share the destiny to be good neighboring countries.” This drew the National Diet of Japan to pass a joint resolution expressing deep gratitude.
President Elpidio Quirino’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama in the National Diet Building in 1955 finally led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan on July 23, 1956, with the Philippine Senate ratifying the Reparations Agreement between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines.
To date, cooperation and mutual understanding between the Philippines and Japan have increasingly grown.
(This is the 1st of a series of articles related to the 60th Anniversary.)