Japanese emperor in Philippines; Speaks about lives lost in World War II

Akihito is the first Japanese emperor to visit the Philippines.

Japanese emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in the Philippines for a five-day state visit. President Benigno Aquino 3rd received them at the Malacañang palace on Wednesday.

Before he travelled to Philippine the emperor remarked about tremendous loss of lives in the Philippines during World War II.

"Many Filipinos, Americans and Japanese lost their lives in the Philippines during the war," Akihito said in a statement in Tokyo.

"Especially in the battle in Manila, a tremendously large number of innocent Filipino civilians were victims. Upon making this visit, we need to bear this in mind at all times," the emperor said.

Akihito is the first Japanese emperor to visit the Philippines.

The 82-year-old monarch will visit a cemetery for tens of thousands of Filipino World War II soldiers, AFP reported.

Pacifism and remorse

The emperor's regret for the large scale death and destruction in Manila in 1945 is seen as an expression of the country's pacifism and remorse for the war enforced by the imperialists on neighboring countries.

"We'd like to conduct our visit by always keeping this in mind," said Akihito, referring to the battle of Manila, which flattened the city and killed an estimated 100,000 people.

The emperor will also visit a shrine for the Japanese war dead in Caliraya.

"The emperor will serve as the apologetic, sincere face of Japan... it will balance out his government's controversial, pugnacious and seemingly revisionist statements," Manila-based political analyst Richard Javad Heydarian told AFP.

The visit of the emperor comes at a time when conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is mooting a revision of the pacifist constitution of the country.