His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 9 June 2015
Subject: Sound Reasoning by the Prime Minister of Singapore
The terror by the Imperial Army during the occupation of South East Asian territories is felt every day by the surviving victims. Not only by the physical pain and discomforts, the psychological after effects are even more painful and hurting. Images of the death by your loved ones caused through maltreatment, lack of medicines and bad hygienic circumstances, starvation in addition to the daily terror are not going away. The number of surviving victims is dwindling fast, but those remaining are not giving up their demands for genuine remorse by the Japanese people of today and in particular of their present leaders.
Our stories are not made up in order to obtain a redress from Japan. They are real, proven and substantiated by medical and investigated records. Japan cannot deny these historic facts. You as Prime Minister must accept that and stop diluting past apologies by previous Prime Ministers. Japan’s wartime legacy will continue to haunt Japan now and in the future. The economic costs in denying the past to Japan are substantial both in lost opportunities as well as in self-defense. You as Prime Minister of Japan on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two are in the position together with unanimous support of both Houses of the Diet to acknowledge and redress the past honorably and sustainably. As made clear many times over the Dutch from Dutch East Indies are ready to reconcile.
Your colleague the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong made it very clear: “Japan needs to acknowledge past wrongs and Japanese public opinion needs to be more forthright in rejecting the more outrageous interpretation of history by its right wing academics and politicians.“ The sound reasoning by Prime Minister Lee should be welcomed by you as he says officially what many think both in Asia and in the Western world. There is in fact no need for a new apology, but there is an urgent need for action in accepting the consequences of the present apologies.
You can put an apology on paper, paper won’t blush. But it is the redress which counts.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk