Address to the Japanese people by His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Manila, January 1, 1944:

BELOVED PEOPLE OP JAPAN:

On this New Year’s day I am happy to have been given the opportunity to address a few words of greeting to the Japanese people.

As we cast a backward glance at the events of the year just concluded, I think we have every reason to feel gratified over the rapid progress that has been achieved in the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Thanks to the indomitable fighting spirit of the Imperial Japanese Forces, the defenses of Greater East Asia have been consolidated and perfected, and the farthest outposts of the Sphere are being held with a tenacity that has won the applause and wonder of the world.

At the same time, the work of reconstruction throughout the region has moved quickly apace, uninterrupted by the exigencies of military operations Burma and the Philippines have proclaimed their independence, and the Provisional Government of Free India has been established; while the peoples of Malai, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Celebes have been given an opportunity to participate in the administration of their own affairs. The holding of the Assembly of Greater East Asiatic Nations on November 5 and 6 last year in Tokyo fittingly climaxed the series of brilliant developments which have served to place the Co-Prosperity Sphere on firmer and more stable foundations.

Thus may we view the principal developments of the past twelve months with undiminished confidence in the prospects of the future. So much has been achieved in the year just over that our task from now on will be two fold: first, to consolidate the enormous gains that have already been made, and second, to exert further efforts in order to insure the ultimate triumph of our common ideals.

Fortunately, the course which the free and independent nations of Greater East Asia shall follow in accomplishing these objectives has been outlined with unmistakable clarity in the Joint Declaration adopted by the Assembly of Greater East Asiatic Nations. The Philippines in particular will also be guided by the terms of the Philippine-Japan Pact of Alliance concluded on October 14, 1943. Under both the Pact of Alliance and the Joint Declaration, the Republic of the Philippines is committed to a policy of cooperating with the other member-nations of the Sphere in the construction of an order of common prosperity and well-being based upon justice, under the basic principles of respect for each other’s traditions, reciprocal economic relations, friendly relations with all countries, and respect for each other’s territory, sovereignty and independence.

In behalf of the people of the Philippines, I wish to assure the people of Japan that my country will faithfully observe its undertakings, not only in compliance with its official commitments, but in conformity with the sense of gratitude which my country feels for the just treatment which Japan has accorded it. The Republic of the Philippines is not yet three months old. It has required all that time and more to consolidate the authority of the Government and to win the loyal adherence of the citizenry. In the meantime, it has continued the work of material and spiritual reconstruction which the Philippine Executive Commission had previously initiated and pursued. We are laying the groundwork of the New Philippines to the end that it may enjoy the blessings of freedom to the fullest possible extent and more effectively share in the obligations and benefits of membership m the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The people of the Republic of the Philippines look forward to the New Year with sanguine hope and with stout confidence in the justice of their chosen course. They are confident that, side by side with Japan and with the other nations of East Asia, they shall assist in sundering at last the cruel chains of exploitation and slavery that have bound one billion Asians for centuries, and in establishing a new world order of liberty, equality and moral justice wherein every nation, however small or weak, shall have place in the sun.

In this hope and in this faith the people of the Philippines salute the people of Japan this New Year’s Day, wishing them, even as they wish for themselves, all strength to perform their respective tasks, and all success in the achievement of their common objectives.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library