His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 10 March 2015
Subject: Marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The appointment of a special panel to advise you how to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II demonstrates the importance you seem to attach to the remembrance. Many individuals, organizations and nations urge you to take this opportunity to acknowledge the historic facts and accept the consequences. Simply an apology statement is unacceptable. To gain worldwide respect and integrity Japan must pass an act declaring the historic facts and accept the consequences, displaying remorse and expressing guilt for its war time actions. Anything less is a missed opportunity and will continue to influence Japan’s economic and political position globally.
The last 70 years Japan spent much time to improve its image of a peace and law abiding nation. However in not recognizing the emotional and material consequences of the lost war Japan failed to reconcile and to see the impact of historical memories for future international relations. Under the terms of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty Japan obtained sufficient opportunities to correct what the war did to the people of the occupied territories. In accordance with the Peace Treaty Japan had no legal obligations, but in knowing the historic facts it should have concluded that there were overwhelming moral reasons to pay respect to the victims and compensate them. It is still not too late to recognize the moral responsibility Japan has. The remembrance of the ending of World War II is a good moment to reconsider.
Crown Prince Naruhito stated the need to remember World War II “correctly”. King Willem Alexander reminded “We will not forget – cannot forget – the experiences in the Second World War”. Prime Minister Koizumi said “I believe that our country painfully aware of its responsibilities with feelings of apology and remorse should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations.” Many others have made the point that “whitewashing history will misfire”. They are clear messages which must be adhered to in the forthcoming remembrance of the end of World War II. The panel of experts advising you should take these remarks in consideration. We look forward to Japan’s Declaration of Historic Facts, acknowledge these and accept the moral responsibility.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
J.F. van Wagtendonk