His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 11 April 2017
Subject: Why are the Dutch from Dutch East Indies yearning for a solution?
It is more than 70 years ago that Japan capitulated and was occupied by the Allied Forces. Japan had its San Francisco Peace Treaty, in 1952 rectified by the then members of the United Nations. The Peace Treaty ignored, contrary to the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, the sufferings and losses of the individual victims. The Yoshida-Stikker protocol of 1956 was a shameful document showing hardly any respect to the victims and failed to give any solace to the Dutch victims of Japanese military terror. It took 5 years to conclude, as its completion was subjected to the paroling of convicted Japanese war criminals. Since then successive Japanese governments stalled the discussion on acknowledging its obligations to the Dutch victims of the Japanese military occupation. The cynical conclusion is that Japan will continue to ignore its responsibilities until all Dutch, who were in concentration camps or outside those camps on racial grounds, will be dead. Those still alive, most of them in their eighties or beyond, yearn for a solution whereby Japan acknowledges its military past and accepts the consequences of that acknowledgement.
Those victims still alive feel and remember more than ever and cannot forget their sufferings. They won’t talk about it in the hope that time heals. But their memory is vivid and horrendous. They read the papers and follow Japan’s predicament now in asking the United States of America for protection against possible actions from North Korea. Proposing, in a bilateral economic dialogue with the US, to exclude agriculture and automotive from the agenda. A typical Japanese attitude to delete or exclude what is contentious. A similar approach was followed in acknowledging war crimes in the Peace Treaty. At the same time nullifying the consequences that Japan could not pay the claims of the individual victims of those war crimes. This attitude needs to be adjusted. Japan has a PR issue: lacking to recognize the effects of its military past. It shamefully ignores its responsibilities for the sufferings it continues to cause.
There are enough problems in the world. Japan would gain much needed goodwill in suggesting a solution. We are awaiting your solution! The surviving victims yearn for a respectful solution.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk
NB When can we expect an official receipt of our petitions?