Petitie #234: Meaningful formal apology by Japan for its wartime atrocities.

His Excellency Shinzo ABE

Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 13 May 2014

Petition: 234

Subject: Meaningful formal apology by Japan for its wartime atrocities.


The Netherlands remember their war dead on May 4th. Each year it is a very moving moment when the King and Queen lay their wreath in remembrance, thus paying their respect to all Dutch who died during World War Two and during peace keeping missions. It is also the moment to reflect on how Japan remembers World War Two. In particular how Japan has dealt with the atrocities by its Imperial Army, its poor apology to the victims and their next of kin and Japan’s disregard of world opinion.

Prime Minister,

The Kono statement and the Murayama statement are limited apologies as they deny Japan’s liability for the consequences of the Imperial Army’s violations of human rights. They do not involve the victims and their next of kin in a gesture of penance. The actions of current Japanese politicians demonstrate time and again that the apologies are not made sincerely by the Japanese nation and continue to haunt Japan. The suggested revision of the constitution proves that the Japanese apologies in their present form cannot be taken seriously. Formal government apologies have to be meaningful and state the facts in order to be acceptable now and in the future. It is essential that Japan issues a meaningful apology in which:

–         Japan acknowledges the wartime atrocities by its Imperial Army,

–         Japan accepts responsibility for these atrocities,

–         Japan sincerely apologizes and incorporates the surviving victims and their next of kin in formulating the apology,

–         Japan promises that its military nor any other government body in future are involved in atrocities and other violations of  human rights,

–         Japan offers concrete reparations to the victims and their next of kin,

–         Japan formally remembers in wartime ceremonies the atrocities, involves the victims and their next of kin and educates its people on the importance to remember the past for a better future,

–         Japan’s apology is by an act of Parliament, in which it accepts both legally and morally liability to the victims and their next of kin and penalizes denial of the attrocities by politicians.

Prime Minister,

We are not alone in requesting Japan to apologize for its wartime atrocities. In formulating our request we made use of the concept of apology by Calvin Hancock for Toronto ALPHA, Association for learning and preserving the history of World War II in Asia.

We require a personal acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk