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An Open Letter to Our Friends: Japan and South Korea

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Dear Japan and South Korea,

Konnichiwa. Annyeong Haseyo. Hello and Mabuhey! I hope the both of you are doing fine.

I do not usually use the English language on this blog but when I do, I address it to foreigners like you because if I address it to my fellow Filipinos, I will only get criticized for my very poor English.

There are so many Filipinos who are very very good in English but I don’t want to talk to them with this language because my insecurities attack me so hard when they start to speak.

Anyway, I am writing this letter to tell you how my country is so blessed to have friends like you. Although my country is poor because of so much graft and corruption, we are rich with great friends like you. I would like you to know that my government supports the both of you and that I assure you that my country values our friendships so much.

Before I go on, thank you for the wonderful jets and ships you provided for our Defense Forces. They are so cool. And thank you for the humanitarian aid you unfailingly send whenever we have calamities which are many. And I cannot thank you enough for the KPop and JPop that you have provided for our youth. You both are really awesome.

Now where was I? Oh, okay.

We value our friendships so much that it hurts us to see that the both of you are having conflict with one another. We don’t really understand everything that is going on between the both of you but it seems that a large part of it is based on what has happened in the past.

To South Korea

Our countries have been friends for a long time and you know that’s true because some of our soldiers even sacrificed their lives to defend your freedom from North Korea during the Korean War.

We know that you were attacked by Japan in World War 2 (WW2) and Japan did so many atrocities to your country that you could never ever forgive them for it.

Well, guess what, just like what Michael Jackson said, you are not alone. During WW2, my country, the Philippines, now infested with so many stupid political dynasties, was attacked by Japan, too and they set-up a fake Philippine Government under Japanese sovereign control. We probably had the same experiences as yours at the hands of the Japanese soldiers during WW2.

Poverty, injustices, tortures, rapes and senseless deaths; we experienced all of these at the hands of the Japanese soldiers during WW2 (and we are still experiencing them now at the hands of our fellow Filipinos but that’s another story).

I guess the difference between us is we forgave Japan already. We accepted their apology and received whatever war crimes compensation their government gave to my government. The Filipino people does not know what my government did to all the money that Japan gave us but we moved on.

Actually, the Filipino people does not have any idea what our government (past and present) is doing with all the money my country receives from many other different countries. I think our country should have been ultra-super-mega rich by now.

As I was saying, we are not holding a grunge against Japan and we are not bitter about what happened in the past anymore. We are now enjoying a good relationship with Japan. We enjoy their food, their music, their culture, their good manners, their different flavored KitKat’s and of course, Dragon Ball Z. But more than that, Japan and the Philippines are also enjoying mutual respect and support from each other.

Maybe if you find it in your heart to forgive Japan, it will be a lot easier to open up talks between the both of you. Just like how Vietnam forgave the atrocities you did to their country during the Vietnam war.

Like Japan, you have apologized, admitted your wrongdoings and compensated Vietnam for what you did in the past. Now, you are enjoying very good relations with Vietnam. But what if Vietnam never forgave you?

What if Vietnam never accepted your apologies and compensations? What if they wanted to take revenge? We all know that nobody wants that.

Even Japan suffered from war crimes too and it was from the United States of America with about 200,000 deaths from the atomic bombings alone. I don’t know if the USA ever apologized to Japan for bombing many innocent civilian Japanese children, women and old people but Japan forgave America and moved on. They have a good relationship now.

One character my country can be proud of is being forgiving. We have forgiven everyone who has ever wronged us in the past: Spain, America, Japan, the Marcoses, the Estradas and in the future, maybe China.

To Japan

We appreciate that you have made efforts to apologize and acknowledge what you have done in the past and for taking steps to compensate for it and ensuring it would not happen again.

Our country considers Japan as a friend and an ally but regarding the altering of facts and denying several aspects recorded in history, even my very forgiving and very nice country will not condone it. I tell you, our country condones so many bad things like graft and corruption and negligence of responsibility, among others, but altering history is not one of them.

If you teach your children that there were never massacres, there were never comfort women and there were never puppet governments, that will be unacceptable.

You are destroying years of efforts of reaching out to the countries you once mistreated. Germany accepted responsibility for their actions in the past. Maybe you should too.

It’s already in the past and you did great measures to ensure that you will not do it again. Your citizens deserve to know the truth and it only shows you are sincere in mending your relationships with other countries such as ours.

How would you feel if America denied bombing your cities (not just Hiroshima and Nagasaki)? How would you feel if world history did not acknowledge the sufferings your country endured during the war? What would you do if other countries changed historical facts about the good things you did after the war?

I do not know about the corrupt officials in my government but being human beings, we have feelings and for those who have been hurt, sometimes a sincere apology is all we need to begin the process of healing.

And being sincere means owning up your mistakes and not denying it or trying to change/alter the facts.

I hope you understood my English. And I’m sorry if it seems that I am criticizing my own country too much. I am not criticizing, I am only stating an opinion. Fortunately, not all Filipinos share the same views that I have. You can always ask our Department of Tourism how wonderful our country is.

I hope that in the near future, you could teach my country how we can be a successful nation as you are.

Best regards to the both of you. We love you both. Mwah mwah!


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