His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 12 April 2016
Subject: Japan’s new vision on tourism in relation to its military past.
Recently you announced your plans to attract more tourists to Japan. The economic impact of tourism can be substantial and might improve Japan’s overall economic conditions. However Japan will not be able to achieve this as long as it does not recognize its negative image in the world. Your country is still viewed with suspicion both in Asia and the rest of the world. In your new vision on tourism to Japan it is essential that Japan recognizes its sordid past. Actions are needed whereby Japan comes forward with suggestions to acknowledge its brutal wartime past and pay compensations to repair the damage done.
28th December 2015 you made a “Deal” between Japan and the Republic of South Korea. In that deal Japan demonstrated that it is morally obliged to acknowledge and to repair the damage done by its military during World War Two. On the basis of your new vision in promoting tourism to Japan the 50,000 surviving Dutch from Dutch Indies would welcome suggestions how to participate in a visit to Japan and collect what is due to them in respect of acknowledgement and redress. The present Peace Exchange program is insufficient and reaches only a very few of the survivors. However due to ill health caused by the sufferings in the concentration camps and outside those camps many cannot participate in a visit to Japan. We suggest to resolve this inconvenience by making an alternative arrangement: a “Deal” with the “Dutch” recognizing Japan’s obligations in a similar way to that with the Republic of Korea.
Japan has many attractions for tourists from Europe, but Japan’s wartime history is not forgotten. Relatives, friends and other acquaintances of the surviving Dutch question Japan’s attitude and ignorance of its past. They rather visit Germany with its transparent and genuine acknowledgement and reparation for the damage done by the German Military and politicians during World War Two. Come forward with a deal acknowledging responsibility and repair the damage.
We are looking forward to your acknowledgement of this 257th petition. Prime Ministers of Japan so far failed to do so; a further insult to the Dutch victims of Japanese military terror.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk