His Excellency Fumio Kishida,
Prime Minister of Japan.
The Hague, 12 October 2021
Subject: Welcome with a new beginning.
The Board and Members of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts respectfully welcome you to the position of Prime Minster of Japan and congratulate you with the appointment. As Foreign Secretary of the previous cabinet you became familiar with our Foundation and our monthly petitions. Previous Prime Ministers never acknowledgement receipt of our petitions which is discourteous and not called for in our dialogue. Nevertheless, we discussed the contents of our petitions with the Japanese Ambassadors in The Hague, and we believe that the Ambassador send the petitions with his comments to Tokyo. An acknowledgement of receipt of the petitions would restore a meaningful dialogue. We hope that you as the new Prime Minister would do so. Thus paying respect to the Dutch and their next of kin and accepting Japan’s historic responsibility for the misconduct by the Japanese military during the occupation of Netherlands East Indies during the Pacific war from 1941 till 1945. The pain and grief of lost ones, their own sufferings in the concentration camp and outside the camps, and the lack of understanding continues to haunt the surviving victims and the next of kin of those who, many died as a consequence of the sufferings.
There are many urgent issues you have to deal with in your new position. Both current ones and those with a historic nature. We ask you to take note of pending issues such as the recognition that Comfort Women who were forcefully recruited to act as sex slaves for the Japanese military and acknowledge the promises Japan made to the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to present the full history of each site listed on World Heritage List of the sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution. In acting swiftly would mean a new beginning in our dialogue which at the moment is unilateral and is in fact at a standstill as there is no movement on Japan’s side.
I asked your predecessor to act so that next year 2022 our requests that both on the Comfort Women issue in accepting a suitable solution in listing the Comfort Women original documents on the UNESCO International Memory of the World Register and the Meiji Heritage issue are dealt with. Do not wait till the World Heritage Committee reconsiders its position in 2023 regarding the efforts Japan made to comply with its pledge of 2015. Let us start with a new beginning in the dialogue.
I look forward to your acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk