His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 14 October 2014
Subject: Royal State visit to Japan by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
Our King Willem Alexander and Queen Máxima will be visiting Japan on an official State visit, 29th to 31st October 2014. In the past visits by our respective Royals have been controversial, accompanied by anger and demonstrations. Not this time. The Dutch from former Dutch East Indies hope that in this visit you and your government find the opportunity to reflect on and to acknowledge the war time history between Japan and The Netherlands. Our countries centuries’ old relationship was based on commerce and mutual respect. The relationship during World War Two however was bitter and sour. It never regained the trust and regard as before.
Despite the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and subsequent Yoshida/Stikker protocol of 1956 Japan did not acknowledge its moral responsibility for the terror and dishonourable behaviour of the Imperial Army against the Dutch during the occupation of Dutch East Indies during World War Two. We informed His Majesty King Willem Alexander that whilst in Japan he should not forget what his mother former Her Majesty Queen Beatrix said at the occasion of her State visit to Japan in 1991:
Many of my compatriots did not survive the war.
Those who returned are traumatised by memories.
That is why their sufferings as yet did not come to an end.
The State visit by His Majesty King Willem Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima should prompt you and your government to consider what Her Majesty Queen Beatrix said and meant. A voluntary gesture by the Japanese government in acknowledging its moral responsibility, including individual excuses and a meaningful solatium for those who are still alive is long overdue. Next year it will be 70 years ago that World War Two ended in Asia. Since then Japan became prosperous and paid many Asian countries a form of reparation. The surviving Dutch from Dutch Indies lost everything during the war but were neglected in Japans generosity to the Asian countries.
The State visit of the Dutch King and Queen is an opportune moment for Japan and in particular for you to reflect on the past and amend the Yoshida-Stikker protocol with an additional solatium.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
J.F. van Wagtendonk