Statement released by His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the occasion of the celebration of Greater East Asia Day, December 8, 1943:

This year, December 8 assumes a double signification: the death-knell of Western imperialism in the Far East and the magnificent unity of all East Asians to preserve their common heritage.

During the past two years, the Philippines was a witness to the subtle and profound changes brought about by the carefully architected plans of Japan. These plans are but the logical continuation of the historical pattern laid out by that country when as far back as 1895 she saw the relentless shadow of Occidental exploitation, with terror as its attendant, darken slowly the landscape of Asia. Japan sucessfully evaded the shadow; her neighbours, however, could not escape it. She saw the dire consequences of Occidental penetration which was aimed at and usually ended in domination, and she prepared herself against it. For decades she has seen East Asia labour under malignant measures which resulted in misery and bitterness, in rebuffs and discrimination, in the willful disregard of that right of all nations to realize their own destinies. In her preparations to dislodge and overthrow Occidental power, she kept in mind the sad plight of her neighbours.

December 8, 1941, saw the sudden end of her patient forbearance of Occidental domination. Out of that forbearance, emerged the swift unsheathing of the sword by the Japanese nation, drawn in defense of her rights and of all East Asian nations, backed by the will, the manifold resources, and arduous preparations of her enlightened statesmen and people.

No nation in Asia, worthy of the heritage of her past, her sacred traditions, and the right to live under the sun can henceforth countenance the return of Western rule or influence. The Asians can no longer be satisfied with being mere “hewers of wood” and “drawers of water” for Occidentals.

For this, the Philippines has given thanks and an inviolable promise to contribute the total of her efforts to the ultimate building of a hemispheric bloc in the East, impenetrable against the designs and intents of greed and appetite, within which all Asians, including the Filipinos, can shape their respective destinies, secure, prosperous, and unhampered. The Filipino people—thoroughly immersed in and acutely aware of actualities—realize the imperative need of extending the principle of universal brotherhood. They know wherein their future lies, and they are determined to uphold that future. They welcome and support the Joint Declaration approved at the Greater East Asia Congress, to which all East Asians have proclaimed their irrevocable adherence. It is with gratification and jubilation, therefore, that the Filipino people celebrate Greater East Asia Day, coming as it does only seven weeks after the attainment of their independence.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library