His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 10 November 2015
Subject: Facing history squarely and advancing toward the future.
As a result of the meeting in Seoul with your counterparts from China and South Korea on 1 November you all agreed to resolve history related issues and improve ties by “facing history squarely and advancing toward the future”. This is historically an important step toward peace and prosperity for Northeast Asia and of consequence for the rest of the world.
The Dutch Minister President Mark Rutte in his remembrance speech on 15 August this year made it clear that many of the Dutch in East Indies not only suffered badly from the Japanese occupation, but also afterwards in The Netherlands, Indonesia and elsewhere. He mentioned that although the Dutch Government at that time was concerned about what had happened to its Nationals, the Dutch Government then hardly came forward to assist them in starting a new life in the Netherlands. Now 70 years after the Japanese capitulation on 15 August 1945 he admitted that for the Dutch from Dutch East Indies “much has not been said nor done. Unfortunately the past cannot be undone.” In this he admitted moral responsibility to those who are still alive.
On 3 November 2015 the Dutch Government Minister responsible for war victims agreed that a lump sum payment is to be made to those Dutch civil servants and military who are still alive, as compensation for not being paid during the Japanese occupation of Dutch East Indies. The East Indies Platform, of which the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts is a founding member, negotiated the terms with the Minister. This too is a historic breakthrough by the Dutch Government on the grounds of accepting its moral obligation to those still alive. There is parallelism with Japan “in facing history squarely”. We hope that Minister President Mark Rutte will be able to raise this parallelism with you during his visit today and thus open an avenue to seeking a suitable resolve for the Dutch from Dutch East Indies.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk