DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Filipina comfort women group Lila Pilipina is expecting President Rodrigo Duterte to bring up their issue during the President’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Duterte left Manila Tuesday for a three-day visit to Japan where he is expected to meet with Abe and Emperor Akihito.

Rechilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilipina said previous regimes have ignored the pleas of comfort women to bring up their issue in talks and meetings with the Japanese government.

She said they are hopeful Duterte will place them in the agenda “at the very least.”

“Our previous leaders have failed us because they are all afraid of rumpling feathers of diplomacy with Japan. With Pres. Duterte, who we believe is no pushover, we are hopeful that finally the issue will be placed in the agenda, at the very least.”

She said Duterte, who pushes for an independent foreign policy, “can stand up to Japan and seek recognition for the wartime sexual slavery that the comfort women endured during World War 2.”

“We seek historical recognition for comfort women as much as we seek compensation for the lolas to make their twilight years more comfortable. We are afraid that as we speak, lolas are growing weaker and weaker and they may no longer live to see the day that justice will finally be given to them,” she said.

In a previous interview with Davao Today, Extremadura said out of the 174 comfort women they documented across the country, 104 have passed away.

Lila Pilipinas has also recorded three cases of 11 year old girls who were made as comfort women during the World War II, the youngest in their records.

The group also expressed their support to Duterte’s independent foreign policy.

“We support Pres. Duterte’s statement that he will not allow foreign military troops, including Japanese troops, in the country. We reiterate our call: Never again to another generation of comfort women,” Extremadura said.

During an interview with reporters during his speech, Duterte said he looks forward to the time where he no longer sees any foreign troops.

“I look forward to the time where I no longer see any military troops or soldier in my country, except the Filipino soldier,” he said.

“I do not have to dovetail what the policies of other countries are, especially in the matter of stationing military troops in my country. I really hate it, I don’t want it. We don’t need it, we’re not going to war and there’s not going to be any war in the future,” Duterte added. (davaotoday.com)

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