His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 13 March 2018
According to Japan Today “the Japanese government will fund from April the travel costs of storytellers, within Japan and abroad, who will share the testimonies given by aging victims of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Storytellers have been trained by Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry of Japan earmarked 30 million yen ( $ 280,000) in the draft fiscal 2018 budget to fund the program. The government will also conduct English lessons for messengers ahead of overseas trips.”
The volunteers, who would tell their horrific story of the nuclear fallout, have been trained to pass on their personal experience. We welcome the financial support by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in making the funds available, but expect that no political interferences nor suggestions are made by the Ministry. The volunteers must tell their own story. Any indoctrination that Japan was a victim of western aggression while not acknowledging that Japan started the Pacific War is not acceptable and counterproductive.
In our previous petition we pointed out that: “Japan’s moral responsibility is hardly known by the Japanese people. The educational curricula of schools and universities do not tell the true historical war facts. The Japanese political, academic and media establishment turn a blind eye to the Japanese war crimes and their gruesome details avoiding unpleasant questions.” The initiative by The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare should be expanded to include the Ministry of Education to fund the storytelling volunteers, including the surviving victims of the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the war at home as well as in the occupied territories.
In the Netherlands we have an organization of volunteers “Gastdocenten” whose members tell their personal stories on behalf of the 40.000 victims still alive, but also of the Dutch victims who died as a result of the Japanese military terror. They bring in perspective that the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war by Japan to an end saving the lives of many, both military and civilians. This story should also be told both in Japan as well as around the world in conjunction with the testimonies on the nuclear fallout as part of building the bridges between Japan and the Dutch from Dutch East Indies.
Looking forward to your personal reply,
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk