THE memorial marker of the late Philippine President Elpidio Quirino at Tokyo’s Hibiya Park was unveiled on Saturday, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Japan.
It was the first of its kind in Japan for a Filipino leader.
Ranking Filipino and Japanese government officials, top executives of Japanese corporations, members and friends of the Quirino family were present during the unveiling ceremony, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The epitaph on the marker mentioned Quirino’s granting of pardon to the 105 Japanese war criminals who were detained in Muntinlupa prison, despite having lost his own wife and three children at the hands of Japanese troops during World War II.
The amnesty paved the way for the normalization of bilateral ties between the Philippines and Japan in 1956.
“This monument is erected at this site as a testament to the Japanese people’s appreciation and respect for President Quirino, and as a renewal of their commitment to the friendship between Japan and the Philippines, and to World Peace,” part of the epitaph reads.
Japan, one of the Philippines’ staunchest allies, admitted that Quirino was widely criticized for extending friendly overtures to war-defeated Tokyo.
The marker was erected by the Philippine Embassy in Japan near Hibiya Public Hall where the National Appreciation Event was held in gratitude for Quirino in July 1953.
The Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians’ Friendship League, Philippine Society of Japan, Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee, Kano Public Interest Incorporated Foundation in Shimane Prefecture and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry contributed for the construction of the marker.
Apart from the establishment of the marker, a series of lectures covering various aspects of the Quirino presidency and Philippines-Japan relations was held at Sophia University in Tokyo on Friday.