The Dutch women inside and outside the Japanese concentration camps were a power of strength of which we, who were at the time children, are immensely proud of. During the Second World War the Japanese occupying military forces tried everything to suppress that strength of will with the ultimate aim to destroy the Dutch community in Dutch East Indies. Despite harsh treatment and starvation the Japanese military failed to break them. More than 20% of the women and their children died in concentration camps or outside those camps. Your statement in the recent United Nations Assemblée that it is “a matter of outrage that there continues to be sexual violence against women during terms of armed conflict even now in the 21st century” is hypocritical. In this statement, which is beyond our comprehension, it appears you wholly overlook the 20th century violence which took place during the Japanese military occupation of Dutch East Indies!
It is time for you and the people of Japan to remember and to acknowledge that during World War Two the atrocities of the Japanese Military in the occupied territories of Asia were common practice. The way they mistreated the Dutch in Dutch East Indies requires special attention as it was not only how they executed their Tokyo instructions, but also how they discriminated against the Dutch on racial grounds, with the ultimate aim of destroying the Dutch community in Dutch East Indies. In other words the Japanese authorities had the special intent to commit genocide as instructed in the “Order to kill”. A war crime punishable indefinitely, a criminal liability which does not expire over time.
With your suggestion to work at home and abroad to improve the plight of women, you shift the attention away from the past practices of Japan during the 20th century. Since World War Two Japan has failed to acknowledge and to accept moral responsibility for the female victims of the military occupation. The Asian Women’s Fund was an attempt to rectify this, but did not convince the victims. The government of Japan did not institute the Fund but asked private Japanese citizens to assist. Hence the attacks on Japan and its politicians have continued, as they fail to acknowledge the facts and legally commit funds for the atonement of victims and their next of kin.
The Japanese authorities failure to accept its moral responsibility for damage to the war victims by referring to the San Francisco Peace treaty of 1951 as legally binding is unacceptable both in the context of your recent UN statement and the fact that Japan has adequate resources to pay reparations to the individual victims. Moral does not mean “heartfelt apologies”, but genuine excuses with atonement!
We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition by you personally.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
J.F. van Wagtendonk