His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 8 January 2019
Subject: A year of change!
The board and members of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts wish you as Prime Minister of Japan, your Cabinet and the people of Japan a safe and prosperous New Year. An important year for Japan as the Emperor will abdicate to be succeeded by his son. Although the Emperor has no political role, his importance as the cultural and emotional symbol for Japan is well known.
The Emperor and Empress made a state visit to The Netherlands in the year 2000. The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts objected to this visit and got into trouble with the Dutch authorities. The Emperor expressed his sadness during the state diner but did not apologize for the illegal occupation of the Dutch East Indies during World War II. However we believe that he felt our anger with his Majesty Emperor Showa’s conduct during the war and also with the reluctance of the Japanese government to acknowledge its responsibility to the individual Dutch victims. We hope that the Emperor will express his feelings to his successor!
In your 2019 New Year’s speech you make reference to the coming to an end of the Heisa era. During this period Japan suffered from deflation and a decreasing population. The rapid technical developments in commerce and industry influenced the social structure of Japan; ignoring Japan’s military past during World War II. Japan’s post war diplomacy, denying responsibility for the Showa era, nowadays requires a different resolve. The elder Japanese people, like the surviving Dutch from the Dutch East Indies, have not forgotten their sufferings and lack of respect and decency by respective Japanese governments including yours.
The numbers of victims are decreasing rapidly. It is too cynical to assume that your government deliberately waits until all victims are dead thus resolving the acknowledgement. I personally hope that the fact, quote ”you are overcome by a sobering sense in reassessing Japan’s post war diplomacy” unquote will result in a genuine and appropriate resolve.
Please start with acknowledging the receipt of this petition.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk