Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A statue dedicated to "comfort women" who were raped and assaulted in wartime has been removed in the Philippines, only two days after its unveiling.
The statue of a young woman with fists resting on her lap has been removed from a Catholic-run shelter for the elderly and the homeless in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippine-based Manila Shimbun reported Wednesday.
The report comes a few days after the statue was removed on Sunday, two days after it was unveiled on Friday.
The removal comes after the Japanese embassy in Manila expressed disappointment in the statue.
"We believe that the establishment of a comfort woman statue in other countries, including this case, is extremely disappointing, not compatible with the Japanese government," the embassy said, according to the Manila Shimbun.
Nuns at Mary Mother of Mercy shelter said the statue was removed without explanation or prior notification. The bronze figure was transferred to the private residence of San Pedro's mayor, the report said.
The Philippines has previously taken down a comfort woman statue from Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
Salvador Panelo, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, defended the Laguna statue this week.
The bronze figure is "simply dedicated to peace and women's empowerment," Panelo said, adding the project was commissioned using private funds.
Authorities may have removed the statue under Japanese pressure, however.
Japan plays an important role in infrastructure investment in the Philippines.
Lila Pilipina, an advocacy group for former Filipina comfort women, condemned the Japanese government on Tuesday.
"Today, it demands that we totally forget its war crimes and demands as well that we remain silent as it re-establishes itself militarily as a junior partner of U.S. expansionism in the Asia-Pacific region," the group said, according to the Inquirer.