His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 12 November 2013.
Subject: Reconsider your intention to visit the Yasukuni Shrine
As far as we can ascertain the Yasukuni shrine was established by the Meiji Emperor. It was to be dedicated to the spirits of the men, women and children who have died for the Emperors of Japan. The people enshrined include not only soldiers but also civilian war dead. Many of the 2,500,000 enshrined died during World War Two. The spirits of these include 1,068 convicted war criminals of which 14 are classified as class A criminals. These are criminals who “conspired to wage war at the highest level, allowing crimes against humanity”. 7 of the class A criminals were sentenced to death by hanging, 4 were sentenced to life imprisonment and eventually died of natural causes, 1 was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 2 died of natural causes prior to the trial by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. To honor these criminals at the Yasukuni shrine shows not only disrespect to the victims, but also is not in keeping with the Japanese military code of conduct.
Despite these facts the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare together with deputies of the Yasukuni shrine agreed in 1969 that the spirits of these criminals could be honored and registered in the shrine as martyrs of the Showa too.
When you and your party members pay respect to the war dead in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine one wonders whether you all realize that the visit also glorifies World War Two crimes such as the approval of enforced sexual military slavery (Comfort Women), the Rape of Nanking, forced military labour of Prisoner of Wars in the mines of Japan and at the railroads in Burma and Dutch Indies, the civilian concentration camps in Dutch East Indies, the medical experiments of unit 731 and last but not least the brutal terror of the Kempeitai in the occupied territories. All violations against humanity by the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy by order of the Japanese government in the name of Emperor of Japan.
You must consider these facts prior to your likely visit to the Yasukuni Shrine before year end. As Prime Minister of Japan you cannot visit the Yasukuni Shrine as a private citizen. You are there as the Prime Minister of Japan paying respect to the spirits of convicted war criminals. In visiting the shrine you are deliberately hurting millions of people who still suffer from your country’s atrocities and their consequences. You ignore the sensitivity of your neighbouring countries, risking a further escalation of the current disputes. Above all it appears that for local political reasons you do not care at all what happened in the past, whitewashing Japan’s guilt and avoiding the moral obligations stemming from that guilt. We ask you to think again upon your intended visit
We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition by you personally.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
J.F. van Wagtendonk