His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 10 February 2015
Subject: Beheading of Japanese hostages by IS.
We are horrified by the beheading of the Japanese hostages by the Islamic State tyrants. We offer our condolences to the Japanese families and friends of the murdered hostages. They must be in a terrible state of fear, pain and anger. The video pictures showing the barbaric executions must hurt them deeply. The pictures prove IS’s merciless killing, underscoring their demands and use of terror. Families and friends of the victims will be traumatized by it forever. They will need support now and in the future in coping with the traumas. Their lives will never be the same again. The gruesome pictures of the beheading will never go away.
We know it all too well, we have seen and experienced it ourselves.
In our sympathy with the Japanese families we feel the pain and sorrow. Many of the surviving Dutch from Dutch East Indies had comparable experiences. Japan has a history of similar military terror whilst occupying and colonizing South East Asia. During that period public beheading was part of their barbaric rule. The Japanese military had no mercy during their regime of terror and abuse. Only after Japan’s capitulation in 1945 did the survivors learn about the fate of their loved ones. They cannot forget the shock that their father, grandfather or son was beheaded by the Japanese military. Today’s pictures remind them of that cruelty. I know from personal experience how it feels. After 70 years I still feel the pain and sorrow.
I hope that my father and grandfather will rest in peace, which was taken away so cruelly.
According to CNN and NHK you said: “We are deeply saddened by this despicable and horrendous act of terrorism and we denounce it in the strongest terms. To the terrorist, we will never, never forgive them for this act.” For the Dutch whose relatives were killed in the same barbaric way it is still very hard to forgive the Japanese. So you see your recently expressed sentiments match ours. The fact that the Japanese government still denies any responsibility for these criminal acts during World War II, leaving the victim families behind without condolences and sympathy, makes it even harder to forgive let alone to forget.
More than ever the future of Japan lies in acknowledging its past and accepting full responsibility for that past.
In any event we hope that you will take the responsibility in taking care of the families of the beheaded hostages. You cannot claim that the victims had no business to be there nor can you ignore Japan’s responsibility to take care of the families of the beheaded. Demonstrate for once, in securing Japan’s future, that you care and take responsibility now and for the past.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
J.F. van Wagtendonk