His Excellency Yoshihide Suga,
Prime Minister of Japan.
The Hague, 8 June 2021
Subject: Why are Japanese concentration camps in Dutch East Indies not an issue in Japan?
In preparing for this petition during the Corona pandemic I came across an article by Mr. Ian Buruma. Mr. Buruma, a well-respected Dutch journalist who studied Chinese in Leiden and film science in Tokyo, made some interesting remarks. During a presentation remembering the capitulation of Japan he mentioned that Japan expresses more remorse of their war against Asians for then colonials, such as the Dutch nationals in Dutch East Indies.
In the Netherlands, the Pacific War means Japanese concentration camps! For the Japanese only 20.000 Dutch civilians lost their lives in those camps, whilst in China more then 20.000.000 died during Japan’s war campaign. The Japanese remorse for China is considered by many in Japan as “unfair” as Asians were attacked. Under the banner Asia for the Asians started Japan on 7 December 1941 the Pacific War with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The victims of the Pacific War were part of the liberation of former colonies of Europe and the United States of America in Asia. The Japanese consider the Japanese concentration camps as part of the war and not an issue to be dealt with at great length. This conclusion is shocking and explains why Japan sticks to the San Francisco Peace Treaty as “Everything has been agreed and there is no further obligation for remorse nor condolence.”
In our previous petition we reminded you of the war crimes and the many Japanese military and their aides who were punished by the Military Courts. We sincerely believe that Japan will ultimately be reminded of these war crimes and be obligated to acknowledge them and pay respect to the few survivors and the next of kin of those died. I hope that you will agree with the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts that a moral review of the past is long overdue. We can not change horrors of the past, but we can together accommodate remorse and respect. The Japanese concentration camps both in Japan for POW’s and Dutch East Indies for the Dutch civilians must be remembered officially by the Japanese government!
Due to the Corona pandemic, we have not discussed with Japanese Ambassador in The Hague the petitions of this year. It is possible that we start the monthly demonstration in July. It would be very welcome if the Ambassador is then in position to react on these petitions.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk