His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 14 March 2017
Subject: If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.
Positive thinking is an effective way to resolve the past. In particular if that past is so murky as Japan’s Second World War past. Japan is not the victim; it is the aggressor who caused so much harm and lasting damage. For Japan’s future as an acceptable democratic nation it is essential to acknowledge Japan’s war past and come to terms with the surviving victims of Japan’s war crimes. It is not a matter between the Dutch government and the Japanese government. It is a matter of willing to resolve the problems with the Dutch victims of Japan’s war crimes. It takes considerable courage to accept responsibility in accordance with international law. That is not what you want and what you presume that the Japanese electorate wants either. But it is what the world wants Japan to accept: responsibility and respect for the damage done to the individual Dutch victims. The people of Japan must be part of the solution as well as the surviving Dutch victims.
The increasing pressure on the Japanese media to not report the full truth about the Japanese military war crimes during the occupation of Dutch Indies is a crime in its own right. The media do not dare to publish that truth fearing the displeasure of the present Japanese government. It is therefore understandable that the Japanese people born after the war do not know what happened during World War Two in Asia. In a true democracy the independence and the freedom to report the truth is essential in maintaining that democracy. The present Japanese government is not part of the solution of informing the Japanese people the truth about the Japanese military misconduct. It is part of the problem in solving the problem.
The vice president of the Dutch High Council of State Mr. Donner put it recently, in remembering the sea battle in the Sea of Java, as follows: “Those who forget the past are bound to repeat that past in the future.” It obligates governments and NGO’s to seek a solution for the Japanese misconduct of the past thus preventing it to happen again in the future.
We are awaiting your solution! We are, on behalf of the Dutch victims ready, with ours.
Why not start with an official receipt of our petitions.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk