His Excellency Fumio Kishida,
Prime Minister of Japan.
The Hague, 9 November 2021
Subject: The future is dictated by the past.
Very soon after your appointment as Prime Minster of Japan your party won the parliamentary election. As Prime Minster you have now a majority support in parliament! A very comfortable position to review Japan’s future taking into account the past. In particular the consequences of the Japanese military occupation of Dutch East Indies during World War II for the individual Dutch victims requires your personal attention and respect.
The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 8th September 1951 states in Article 14(a) “It is recognized that Japan should pay reparations to the Allied Powers for damage and suffering caused by it during the war. Nevertheless it is also recognized that the resources of Japan are not presently sufficient, if it is to maintain a viable economy, to make complete reparation for all such damage and suffering and the same time meets its other obligations.” The Allied Powers waived all reparation claims. In fact Japan was released to pay for the war damage caused at the time that the Peace Treaty was agreed in order to rebuild its economy at the expense of the Dutch war victims. Since then however Japan was economically very successful and could have made a voluntary reparation to the individual Dutch victims. Japan’s reserves were more then adequate. Most of the Dutch lost their jobs, their homes and their savings, and suffered mentally and ill health as a result of the Japanese military occupation of the Dutch East Indies. The loss of their savings did not help either. The solatium under the Yoshida Stikker Protocol of 1956 was a poor sense of guilt and caused only ill feelings.
We realize that Japan as all other nations globally now are confronted with Covid 19, the climate change and regional instability. These are causing a considerable financial burden including on the Japanese government and its citizens. At the same time now is the opportune moment to establish morally and commercially global relations in particular with the Netherlands taking into account the moral obligations to the Dutch from Dutch East Indies. In many of our petitions we made suggestions to come to terms with the past. What took place during the war cannot be restored, but the feelings of ignorance and neglect in our relation can be improved. With your party’s parliament majority you can win support for a reconciliation taking into account the past.
I look forward to your acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition and your suggestions.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk