Japan accused of turning a blind eye to bloodshed in PH

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2017 05:09 PM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walk past honour guards during a welcome ceremony for Abe at the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA – An international human rights organization has accused Japan of turning a blind to the bloodshed in the Philippines in connection to President Rodrigo Duteret’s war on drugs.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) scored Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for pledging aid and investment to the Philippines despite Duterte’s brutal campaign.

Abe also vowed to support Duterte in ending the Philippines’ drug problem.

“Some foreign governments with close ties to the Philippines, such as Japan, have turned a blind eye to the bloodshed. During his mid-January visit to the Philippines, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a five-year US$800 million Japanese government Overseas Development Assistance package to ‘promote economic and infrastructure development,’” HRW Asia Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine said in a dispatch.

“But while promising financial support for drug rehabilitation projects in the Philippines, he made no mention of the brutal impact of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign on people who use drugs and their families.”

HRW said until there is “concerted domestic and international opposition to the carnage”, the death toll of Duterte’s drug war will continue to rise.

Despite condemnation from the United States and the United Nations of Duterte’s war on drugs, which has so far claimed around 6,000 lives, Japan has not criticized the new government's bloody campaign.

Duterte has also praised US rivals China and Russia for their non-interference in his drug crackdown.

In contrast to his constant criticism of the US, Duterte has repeatedly expressed admiration for Japan, Manila’s largest donor and top trading partner.

“As the Philippines pursues its campaign to destroy the illegal drug trade apparatus, we welcome the expression of interest of Japan to support measures to address the tremendous social cost of drug addiction. This includes rehabilitation,” Duterte said during Abe’s visit earlier this month.