MANILA - The Philippines' strong ties with Japan in the West Philippine Sea should not come at the expense of compensation for crimes committed by Japanese soldiers during World War II, a foreign affairs analyst said.

Professor Richard Heydarian, on Wednesday, said the Philippine government should also demand the same apology and compensation, promised by Japan to South Korea, for Filipino wartime sex slaves.

"The South Korean government has played its card very aggressively, for some people, in fact, too aggressively. And now that it's [South Korea] getting its result, so finally the Japanese government, right now, is responding to the comfort women issue and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is really engaging in a kind of diplomacy to reach out to its neighboring countries," Heydarian said.

"In that sense, I think the South Korean government should also remind us that the crimes of the past should not be denied in any way or in any form," he added.

Heydarian noted that the Philippines seems to be the only country that has not been critical of Japan over the "comfort women" issue.

“We seem to be the only country that is so openly supporting a 'normalized Japan' or 'rearmed Japan.' It seems that the Philippine government has been too eager to make sure that we are on a very positive footing with Japan and unfortunately, in exchange for that, we have not been critical with respect to the Abe administration on issues like comfort women,” Heydarian said.


Last Monday, South Korea and Japan reached a landmark agreement to resolve the issue of "comfort women," as those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels were euphemistically known, an issue that has long plagued ties between the neighbors.

The foreign ministers of the two countries said after a meeting in Seoul that the "comfort women" issue would be "finally and irreversibly resolved" if all conditions were met.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to take the opportunity to boost bilateral ties following the agreement, in which Japan made an apology and promised about one billion yen ($8.3 million) for a fund to help former "comfort women."

The two countries have been trying for decades to overcome divisions over the "comfort women" issue, but past efforts have not succeeded.

Japan had been insisting South Korea state its intention to lay the issue to rest this time, since many officials resent what they see as South Korea's use of the "comfort women" issue for domestic political gain despite past steps taken by Tokyo.

South Korea, for its part, wanted a clearer statement by Japan of its responsibility for the women's suffering.

A powerful symbol of success would be the fate of a statue symbolizing "comfort women" that has been put up in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul and has been an irritant to Tokyo.

Although South Korea did not agree to remove the statue, Yun said Seoul recognizes Japan's concerns and will hold discussions with the group that erected it to address the issue. -- with a report from Reuters