MANILA The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Wednesday that Philippines and Japan have officially agreed to cooperate in the humanitarian repatriation of the remains of World War II Japanese soldiers in the Philippines.
In a statement, DFA, through the Office of Public Diplomacy, said the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) will facilitate the proper collection, handling, storage, and shipment of these remains.
An estimated 518,000 Japanese soldiers perished in the Philippines during World War II.
The Philippines, under President Carlos Garcia, allowed Japan to undertake recovery missions in the country for humanitarian reasons beginning in 1958.
Since then, DFA said, the remains of roughly 100,000 soldiers have been returned to Japan.
Japan Times reported that the project was suspended in 2010 after news broke that some of the collected remains might have included Filipino nationals.
A year later, it was confirmed that those repatriated to Japan contained no foreign bones.
DFA-OPD told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the MOC, dated May 8, was signed in Tokyo by Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Katsunobu Kato and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who affixed his signature in Manila. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency