Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda on Tuesday voiced displeasure to President Rodrigo Duterte over a statue symbolizing comfort women that was installed by the Philippine government in Manila last month.
Speaking to reporters after her meeting with Duterte in the capital, Noda said she told the Philippine leader, "It's regrettable for this kind of statue to suddenly appear."
Although Duterte apparently made no comment, Noda said she thinks she was able to gain his understanding of the Japanese government's position on the matter.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines, a government agency, on Dec. 8 unveiled the statue on a promenade along Manila Bay.
A plaque of the 2-meter-high bronze statue depicting a blindfolded woman says it was erected in memory of Filipinas who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the Japanese occupation of the country during World War II.
It followed the erection of similar statues in South Korea, China and as far away as Australia.
An estimated 1,000 Filipino women served as comfort women during the 1941-1945 occupation.