Self reflection and compassion are the main elements in coping with the past and looking forward to the future. The role of politicians as elected representatives in this process is essential. The Dutch victims of the brutal and cruel occupation of Dutch East Indies expect that Japan accept the moral obligations stemming from the Japanese Military misconduct. We are amazed that present Japanese politicians do not understand that they have this obligation and allow Japanese diplomatic officials to tell other diplomats in Geneva “to shut up”. Other officials are allowed to make outrageous statements about the necessity of Comfort Women for the Japanese soldiers without strong condemnation by you. And then the latest scandal of funds set aside to help earthquake, tsunami and nuclear victims, to which Dutch nationals contributed substantially. Some of these contributions appear to be allocated to Japanese power companies. Your order to re-examine the spending of the disaster budget demonstrate that you take self reflection and compassion seriously.
Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s approval of the institutionalization by the Japanese Military of sexual slavery, known as Comfort Women, is outrageous. His remarks that enforced prostitution of young girls and women was necessary for the Japanese Military at war, brought back the stories the Dutch girls and women in the Japanese concentration camps had to endure. The true story is that Japanese officers recruited from these camps young underage girls and women for their own pleasure. The military tribunal Semarang sexual slavery case made that very clear! Senior Japanese officers visited in their desire to satisfy the hospital concentration camp Solo and ordered the young girls and women to line up. The Dutch camp leader and the Dutch medical doctor, both women, argued that they were not fit for the lineup. The officers became angry and hit and kicked the doctor so badly that she died several days later. It was for the courageous behavior of the doctor and the camp leader that these girls and women were saved from sexual slavery. The officers never returned, apparently they were satisfied elsewhere. The full story will be published in our News Magazine on the occasion of 14th August Comfort Women’s Memorial Day.
In this petition we suggest that you and the Japanese people you represent, show self reflection and compassion with the past to look forward to the future with dignity. Stick to the Kono Statement of August 4, 1993 apologizing for immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds inflicted on thousands of Comfort Women, mostly Korean but also from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Netherlands. Acknowledge the moral obligations stemming from the military occupation of Dutch East Indies and in particular the way the Dutch were maltreated. This would reflect on you as Prime Minister of Japan and on your personal dignity!
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
J.F. van Wagtendonk