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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our monthly demonstration in The Hague.

NGO, Status Roster

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 10 December 2013.
Petition: 229
Subject: Renewal of the Dialogue upon the arrival of the new Japanese Ambassador to The Hague.


The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts has presented many petitions to Prime Ministers of Japan conveying the same message:
Requesting Japan to show its moral responsibility for the remorseless brutalities by the Japanese military conducted during their occupation of the former Dutch East Indies from 1942 till 1945.
Despite the desire expressed by Japan's Ambassadors in The Hague to maintain a dialogue with the Dutch from the former Dutch East Indies represented by the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts, these petitions were never acknowledged and the message ignored. Moral responsibility is not a legal matter, but a matter of conscience and principal. It is the way in which we respect each other, admit our mistakes and crimes, apologize and compensate for the ill feelings and damage done. A genuine dialogue between Japan and the Foundation is required in establishing mutual understanding and acceptance.

Prime Minister,
Compare Japan with Germany. After World War Two Germany realized how the individual survivors suffered and what they lost as result of the war which Germany started. Without pressure from the Allies, Germany accepted moral responsibility, offered their apologies and compensated the damages inflicted by the German military and their political systems.Germany did this generously and without hesitation. Despite haunting memories and unrepairable damages to health and property the efforts made by Germany were accepted by the victims. Germany is respected as a nation of conscience and principals. They enjoy a status of respect and reliability.

Japan could be in a similar position by accepting moral responsibility. It would be appropriate for you to understand the meaning of the more than 200 petitions presented to Japan's Prime Ministers since 1993.

Prime Minister,
A new Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of The Netherlands has been appointed. His Excellency Masaru Tsuji must be given time to read our previous petitions. In particular the last 50 petitions, which outline our suggestions, are essential for a meaningful dialogue. As a matter of goodwill and conscience we ask you strenuously to provide the new Ambassador with new instructions so that we can seek jointly for an appropriate and creative solution.

Prime Minister,
In the meantime, as already requested in our previous petition 228, may we ask you to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. You should not honor convicted war criminals! Stop hurting the millions of people who still suffer from the after effects of the Second World War started by Japan.

We would welcome an acknowledgement of receipt of this petition by you personally.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk

The demonstration in The Hague finds place every second Tuesday of the month in front of the Japanese Embassy.

Our business with Japan is unfinished, and will remain so until the Japanese government fully accepts it quilt and tells its people what was done in their name during World War Two.

Young men and soldiers were swept into the now largely forgotten Asian holocaust, perpetrated by Japan's militarist leaders. These men were not just prisoners but slaves during Japan's aggression in the South-East Asian region, forced to be a vital part of the Emperor's war effort.
Forced to build the infamous railroad through the jungles of Burma and Thailand.Daily beatings and many days working 18 hours a day with very little food and water. Many of them passed away ,either to diseases and total exhaustion or beheading, which your military enjoyed.Death was visiting them every day. Japan did not care, there were many to replace them. My father died on September 18, 1943, just a couple of weeks short, when the railway line was ready for use. The ones who made it were send to another project and to the Japanese factories, Mitsubitshi, Daihatsu, etc,and into the mines of Japan.How these men suffered.When Japan was defeated these men were skeletons. The war should not have lasted another two weeks, because none of them would have survived. The Japanese were planning to kill them all, the prisoners had already dug their own mass graves.The date for the mass killings, women, children and men was set for 26 August, 1945. The A-bombs saved us. Dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.The Emperor Hirohito offered his own people, they were warned and ignored it.
Dutch survivors.

Women and children were put behind barbwire and high fences. Forced into sex slavery (comfort women) my mother and her sister were one of them. They were misused while in camp Moentilan, and in all places in a church on the property of this concentration camp. Its a miracle my mother and her sister survived.The rest of their lives they had to deal with what had happened to them during those three and a half year when Japan's military tortured, worked, and starved and raped them. Innocent women and children, for who the Japanese military had no respect.Many women and children died in these camps. The ones who survived had to deal the rest of their lives with the trauma's the Japanese military inflicted on them.
Moral responsibility and respect is not too much to ask for. How much longer do we the survivors have to ask for genuine apology and compensation for the damage done to us.Not only to the victims who were there but to their children and grandchildren, who have to deal with the trauma's their parents suffered.
My mother passed away in 2003, and her sister in 1990, but we the children who were in these camps will never stop these petitions. We have the utmost respect for our mothers, who did everything in their power to keep us alive in these camps. After the war my mother did everything in her power to try to let me forget, about what I had seen. Whenever I questioned my mother about an incident I could not get out of head, she would say that I had dreamed it. She always told me,' Such things do not happen in real life, you must have had a nightmare".
I  know now that whatever I asked her, I had seen and remembered. I have shed many tears for my mother and her sister and I will always keep writing about that horrible time. People should never forget and always remember so this will never be repeated.
Japan likes to forget, but this business, our business will be unfinished until they accept their guilt.

Lest we forget!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our monthly demonstration in The Hague.Petition 228

                                                                     NGO,STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minsiter of Japan

The Hague, 12 November  2013
Petition: 228
Subject: Reconsider your intention to visit the Yasukuni Shrine


As far as we can ascertain the Yasukuni Shrine was established by the Meiji Emperor. It was to be dedicated to the spirits of the men, women and children who died for the Emperors of Japan. The people enshrined include not only soldiers but also civilian war dead. Many of the 2,500.000 enshrined died during World War Two. The spirits of these include 1,068 convicted war criminals of which 14 are classified as class A criminals. These are criminals who "conspired to wage war at the highest level, allowing crimes against humanity". Seven of the class A criminals were sentenced to death by hanging, four were sentenced to life imprisonment and eventually died of natural causes, one was sentenced to 20 years in prison and two died of natural causes prior to the trial by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. To honor these criminals at the Yasukuni Shrine shows not only disrespect to the victims, but also is not in keeping with the Japanese military code of conduct.
Despite these facts the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare together with deputies of the Yasukuni Shrine agreed in 1969 that the spirits of these criminals could be honored and registered in the Shrine as martyrs of the Showa too.

Prime Minister,
When you and your party members pay respect to the war dead in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine one wonders whether you all realize that the visit also glorifies World War Two crimes such as the approval of enforced sexual military slavery (Comfort Women), the Rape of Nanking, forced military labor of Prisoner of Wars in the mines of Japan and at the railroads in Burma and the Dutch Indies, the civilian concentration camps in Dutch East Indies. the medical experiments of unit 731 and last but not least the brutal terror of the Kempeitai in the occupied territories.All violations against humanity by the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy by order of the Japanese government in the name of the Emperor of Japan.

Prime Minister,
You must consider these facts prior to your likely visit to the Yasukuni Shrine before year end. As Prime Minister of Japan you cannot visit the Yasukuni Shrine as a private citizen. You are there as the Prime Minister of Japan paying respect to the spirits of convicted war criminals. In visiting the Shrine you are deliberately hurting millions of people who still suffer from your country's atrocities and their consequences. You ignore the sensitivity of your neighboring countries, risking a further escalation of the current disputes.
Above all it appears that for local political reasons you do not care at all what happened in the past, whitewashing Japan's guilt and avoiding the moral obligations stemming from that guilt. We ask you to think again upon your intended visit.

We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of his petition by you personaly.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.

J.F. Wagtendonk

Flowers were laid on my father's grave in Kanchanaburi last week. I will be forever thankful to Eric Broekroelofs. Thank you again and again.

The ignorance of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his administration is very frustrating.
November 11, yesterday was Remembrance day. We should remember the fallen soldiers every day, every month and not just in November. We shall remember them, those who never came home and those who made it home. We remember and honor the sacrifices of soldiers who fought in past wars. They fought for our freedom, many lost their lives, the greatest price of all,"The sacrifice of Life". Incurable scars for those soldiers who came home. Incurable scars for the women and children who were interned by the Japanese in these filthy camps behind barbwire and high fences. Many died of starvation and diseases. The Japanese military was cruel.The rest of their lives they had to deal with these scars inflicted by these so called trained soldiers. Japan still has to learn what it means to be a soldier. A soldier is somebody who defend his country and it's people. A soldier is not suppose to be somebody who rapes innocent defenseless women and young children.Those are not the ones we will honor, and many of this kind of a soldier are honored in  Japan in the Yasukuni Shrine.Many of Japan's military, who ordered the unthinkable crimes to other human beings during World War Two are being paid respect by their Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
I lost my father at the hands of these brutal criminals, who called themselves soldiers. My mother lost the love of her life. I never had the chance to get to know my father. My father experienced so much horror.I often wonder what they had done to him and his fellow comrades.My father died of brutal beatings, starvation and dysentery , worked to death building a rail road , through a jungle so dense, full of insects, snakes etc.with very little food and water.

Dysentery, virulent diarrhea, Dengue fever, cholera, malaria and gross malnutrition, a surfeit of brutality, and there you have it:"A rail road line".

Now history is hazily wrapped in the past. Only some photographs are left from a happier time.I have seen my mother cry too often. I have seen internal hate in her eyes, when the name of Japan was mentioned. I have seen so much pain in her eyes,when I saw her stare in the distance. I have seen my mother and her sister with broken hearts.
War creates so much suffering that can never be fixed.
War steals us of the right to be happy it drops bombs on our hopes and dreams. War takes our fathers away from us, a Daddy who will never be able to tuck us in at night and would kiss and hug us goodnight. War creates so much sadness, it brings so much pain that will never leave. War will always leaves us with the question:"WHY"?
It's so important to realize that history is a teacher of all of us. It teaches us the errors of the past. Errors which should never be repeated. That's why we should Remember, not only in November but every day.
Lest we forget!
Life goes on. But the decisions of one generation will still be felt many generations on. The people who were put through World War Two are not the only people suffering. It's the aftermath of a war that will be felt for hundreds of years.
However Japan could make the healing process faster by facing up to what happened in the past, with Honesty. A lack of knowledge about the war's tragic aspects or insensitivity to them could be among the factors behind the Shinzo Abe administration.Be honest and face the truth.

The next demonstration will be held the second Tuesday  in the month of December in The Hague in front of the Japanese Embassy.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monthly demonstration in The Hague. Petition: 227

                                           FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                                                                                    NGO, Status Roster

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 8 October 2013.
Petition: 227
Subject: Women's rights.


The Dutch women inside and outside the Japanese concentration camps were a power of strength of which we, who were at the time children, are immensely proud of. During the Second World War the Japanese occupying military forces tried everything to suppress that strength of will with the ultimate aim to destroy the Dutch community in the Dutch East Indies. Despite harsh treatment and starvation the Japanese military failed to break them. More than 20% of the women and their children died in concentration camps or outside those camps. Your statement in the recent United Nations Assembly that it is " a matter of outrage that  there continues to be sexual violence against women during terms of armed conflict even now in the 21st century" is hypocritical. In this statement, which is beyond our comprehension, it appears you wholly overlook the 20th century violence which took place during the Japanese military occupation of the Dutch East Indies!

Prime Minister,
It is time for you and the people of Japan to remember and to acknowledge that during World War Two the atrocities of the Japanese Military in the occupied territories of Asia were common practice. The way they mistreated the Dutch in the Dutch East Indies requires special attention as it was not only how they executed their Tokyo instructions, but also how they discriminated against the Dutch on racial grounds, with the ultimate aim of destroying the Dutch community in the Dutch East Indies. In other words the Japanese authorities had the special intent to commit genocide as instructed in the "Order to kill". A war crime punishable indefinitely, a criminal liability which does not expire over time.

Prime Minister,
With your suggestion to work at home and abroad to improve the plight of women, you shift the attention away from the past practices of Japan during the 20th century. Since World War Two Japan has failed to acknowledge and to accept moral responsibility for the female victims of the military occupation. The Asian Women's Fund was an attempt to rectify this, but did not convince the victims. The government of Japan did not institute the Fund but asked private Japanese citizens to assist. Hence the attacks on Japan and its politicians have continued, as they fail to acknowledge the facts and legally commit funds for the atonement of victims and their next of kin.

Prime Minister,
The Japanese authorities failure to accept its moral responsibility for damage to the war victims by referring to the San Francisco Peace treaty of 1951 as legally binding is unacceptable both in the context of your recent UN statement and the fact that Japan has adequate resources to pay reparations to the individual victims. Moral does not mean "heartfelt apologies", but genuine excuses with atonement!

We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition by you personally.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk

It's so important that we document the remembrances for those who's lives are over.If we don't, that personal knowledge will be lost forever. We seem to live in a time now where everyone seems to be just looking ahead as though we deem nothing in the past worthy of our attention. Times past simple disappear. But jet it is important to "discover" by simple looking behind us.There is so much to learn.
If you take the time to ask questions and actually listen to the answers.It's important to show appropriate respect for the lives and experiences of those who have come before us.
It's sad that we have indeed a short memory. The worst part of memory is that we tend to forget, and lose sight of the importance of past history.

Japan is a nation who seems to have forgotten their past.Although they remember the Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki very well.
How come they pretend not to know about the atrocities their military inflicted on innocent women and children during World War Two? How come they deny the rapes on young women and even very young girls? My mother and her sister were one of them.Sexually misused by Japan's military during their captivity in these so called protection camps. These so called protection camps were nothing but filthy concentration camps where many women and children died of starvation and violence. It's hard for one to fully grasp the fear, pain, suffering and sadness that these women and children went through while imprisoned by the Japanese in these horrible camps, behind barbwire and high fences, rotting away as if they were nobodies.How come Japan has forgotten this past of their history? There are many war graves to remind us, the graves are our witnesses.
Very few of the women who were in these Japanese concentration camps are still alive today, but we their children who were very young while we were in these camps during that horrible time will as long as we live remind Japan of their past. We will never forget what the Japanese military did to our mothers.
It's time for Japan to pay their respect and acknowledge their wrong doings.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our monthly demonstration in front of the Japanese embassy in The Hague

                              FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                                                                NGO,STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 10 September 2013.
Petition: 226
Subject: Towards a genuine dialogue 11.


In my previous petition I called for a genuine dialogue between your government and the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts. Such a dialogue is aimed at resolving the enduring harm done to the Dutch nationals in concentration camps and outside those camps by the Japanese military during the occupation of  the former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.Acknowledging the past should fit in with your intentions to prepare Japan and in particular its youth for the future. You would not like to be remembered as the Japanese Prime Minister who whitewashed genocide and war crimes committed during World War Two.

Prime Minister,
That the UN Secretary General, despite the serious and time consuming Syrian crises, urges Japan to consider its past is very significant and clear. It is for Japan a clear warning that the United nations are unhappy with the present discussion in Japan to "rewrite history". His call for "correct awareness about history" is not only meaningful, but indicates serious concerns by the UN members for the consequences if Japan is to revise its present constitution.

Prime Minister,
In this context the reaction by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to the call by the UN Secretary General was to be expected. It demonstrated however that the UN Secretary General is right to call upon Japan to reconsider its intentions to change the present constitution. The UN Secretary General is well aware of your efforts to have a dialogue with South Korea and China. It is childish of your Chief Cabinet Secretary to doubt it. Nevertheless it would do you and Japan good not only in asking the UN Secretary General what he means with "very deep introspection", but to ask his help in resolving the globally deep rooted distrust of Japan and its leaders in matters concerning World War Two.
The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is very much aware of the attrocities committed by the Imperial Army during World War Two. In particular the Japanese military's for use of institutionalized sexual slavery known as Comfort Women is a subject matter which the Human Rights Council repeatedly asked Japan to take its responsibilities for.
The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts welcomes the remarks by the UN Secretary General and will continue to remind the UN Human Rights Council that Japan must acknowledge the attrocities committed by the Imperial Army, apologize to the victims still alive or to the direct descendants of those who died, many as a consequence of the brutalities by the Imperial Army; and compensate them.

Prime Minister,
We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition by you personally.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,


 Brigitte van Halder our JES committee member of International Relations was at the 24st session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva in August.
This is the following written statement,

United Nations                                                                          A/HRC/24/NGO/5

GENERAL ASSEMBLY         Distr.:General
                                                   27 August 2013

                                                   English only


Human Rights Council 
Twenty- fourth session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development

        Written statement' submitted by the Foundation of Japanese
        Honorary Debts, a non-governmental organization on the

       The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in
       accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.

                                                                                                             [18 August 2013]

  * This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-
     governmental organization(s).


Haunting memories

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts was established in 1990 with the purpose of
looking after the interests  of the Netherlands -Dutch- citizens who, during the Japanese
occupation of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), were victims of the Japanese military
during World War 11.

The Dutch citizens were interned in concentration camps, families were split and men,
women and children put in separate camps. No communication was allowed, smuggling of
messages was impossible; if caught it could cost your life, in the best case you were
brutally tortured. Many men were transported overseas and forced to do slavery work on
railroads (e.g. Birma railroad) the mines or do coolie work in harbors. War time
conventions were violated despite acceptance of these conventions by japan.

Those Dutch left outside the camps on racial grounds were terrorized and disallowed to work for a living.

All were subjected to organized terror by the military, including enforced sex slavery and
other forms of slavery, torture, intimidation, harsh disciplines, systematic starvation and
denial of medicine. Many died and the ones who survived cannot forget their ordeal. Many
continue to live with traumas and other health problems.

Still now, more than 68 years after the end of this war people come forward with their
personal stories, the memories that still haunt them.

One of these stories is an eye witness report of a then 14 year old boy who had only just
moved into Women's Hospital camp Solo on the island of Java, together with his mother,
his two older sisters of 15 and 18 and his younger brother of 10.

His story is about Japanese officers who, as announced several weeks beforehand, came to
collect 30 Dutch girls from Camp Solo in 1943.

In his own words written down in 2013 at the age of 86:

Quote: "Led by a young female doctor, Dr. Engels, thirty girls had soiled themselves and
some had inflicted small injuries to themselves, such as little wounds on their lips. These
would fester and looked very unappealing. At the time, I didn't really understand it. These
girls looked terrible and reeked immensely. Hair was no longer cut and there was no more
bathing. Dresses were torn and smeared. Rags were bound around legs and the girls were
taught how to limp and squint.

Once in a while there was some giggling because of these smelly, dirty disguises, but in the
hearts of the girls and their mothers there was great fear and grief because no one knew
what the Japanese were planning. It was clear however that, once the Japanese had made
their choice, those girls would have to go with them. Yes, working in a hospital, getting an
education and all kinds of other promises were made, but behind the scenes there was silent
grief and great uncertainty.

And so the day arrived. Several girls had fallen ill because of all the misery and fear. There
was vomiting and crying.

In my thoughts I saw my sisters standing there. What would happen to them? No one knew.

There they were: Five senior Japanese officers, in full uniform with high hats, imperial
samurai swords, gold stripes and shiny leather boots. There they were, on the steps of the
hospital, our Camp building, in Solo. Everyone in the camp had to be present on the
forecourt. About 1800 women and children were already waiting for an hour. It was dead
quiet. My little 10 year old brother was sitting on the ground playing with sand and stones.
My mother cried softly.

First a long story in Japanese translated by a Javanese interpreter in Malay: the beloved,
benevolent and divine Japanese emperor Hirohito was pleased that 30 girls from this
Women's Camp were allowed to study in Japan, or would be trained as nurses, and could
then go to work in various hospitals.

[In reality, girls, once selected in this manner, were forced into prostitution in brothels run
by the military, as 'Comfort Women' for the Japanese forces.]

A spacious place in front of the steps of the building was kept free for the girls. There they
would stand in a long line. Somewhere else the girls must have been standing at the ready.
But they didn't show up.

And then this happened.

The Japanese officers became restless: First murmurings, then profanities. They were not
used to this. Our camp director, Mrs. Smith, was called forward. It took a while. Doctor
Engels, a female doctor and the only doctor in the Women's Camp, the one that had
'prepared' the girls, walked along with Mrs. Smith, onto the steps of the terrace. When
asked where the girls were, the camp director told the interpreter in Malay that the girls
were too young and were needed in the Camp. Doctor Engels continued that the girls were
sick and weakened because there was not enough food in the camp.She added that the girls
could not leave because they had to take care of their sick mothers and the smaller children.

Doctor Engels immediately got a hard slap in the face from a Japanese officer. She almost
fell to the ground and just managed to prevent the man from hitting her with his sheathed
sword by grabbing the sacred Japanese sabre. This caused her and the samurai to topple
over backwards onto the floor. We knew what this would mean. This was a deadly sin to
the Japanese. A holy Samurai was not to be touched by anyone, most certainty not by a

Then all the officers went mad. Doctor Engels was kicked till she bled and beaten up
completely, until she stopped moving. She was the dragged away to the hallway behind
the terrace. We heard her screaming in agony a few times, and then there was silence. I
remember that Doctor Engels lived another few days, but then died from her injuries.

She had had the courage to say NO and then died for the sake of the lives of 30 Dutch camp
girls. All women and children present on the forecourt flew in all directions in a panic, back
to their rooms and to the barracks, in desperate fear of what could happen now.

The Japanese officers retreated and got in their cars and left without having seen the girls.

A second attempt to pick up the girls failed to materialize and why......we do not know.
Probably because soon the 'Military Command' of the women's camps was transferred to a
Japanese Citizen Authority or Board. As far as I know there was never any retaliation,
except that we received no food that day and all of the about 200 boys aged 10 to 18 were
taken to the Boys Camp 7 in Ambarawa 100 kilometers away in the week after the
uprising."End of quote.

Memories like these still haunt the victims of the Japanese concentration camps.

On behalf of these victims the board of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts
continues to seek moral recognition and justice. The Japanese government, due to
international pressure, will ultimately have to acknowledge that they have a moral duty
towards the Dutch from the former Netherlands East Indies. The Japanese government
claims that as a nation they "fight" for peace and justice, taking its responsibilities in the
international bodies seriously, playing significant roles in human rights, conflict mediation
and peace keeping forces. Before claiming this position however Japan must consider its
past and rectify their wrongdoings.

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts requests the Human Rights Council to ensure
that at last, after 68 years, Japan recognizes the facts and settles the damage by
compensating the victims.


I wonder how Japan is going to react. I read something very interesting the other day, about another Dutch women, who just told her story about taken to a Japanese brothel. Her name is Jan Ruff- O'Herne. See her interview video on the internet, or read her book.

Its unbelievable how Japan keeps denying about these atrocities and the brothels. Everyone knows that it happened. It went on in the women camps as well. Women were raped, and my mother and her sister were one of them.
She never talked about it, and only had told her younger sister when she came back from the former Dutch Indies.
This was a taboo topic and often ignored  is the discussion about rape in the camps and the Japanese brothels."Comfort Women".
The petitions we hand over are a way to speak out to a very ignorant Japan.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Netherlands, April 2013.Crowning of a new King.

Our flight left on April 29,2013 and we arrived in Amsterdam on April 30. This day was a special day in The Netherlands, because of  the crowning of a new King. The eldest son of Queen Beatrix, Willem-Alexander, is going to be crowned the new King.Queen Beatrix is retiring.
King Willem-Alexander with his wife and children.I hope your children will never be war victims.
I am dreaming, that during your Kingship the Dutch government stands behind their morals. That justice will be done to them who deserve justice. Do one right, give them their due, no matter where they lived in the past, like in the former Dutch Indies, New Guinea or elsewhere in territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. I am dreaming that a time comes during your Kingship that the Indies " matter " will come to a honorable solution, specially for them who fought and gave their lives for the "Honor of  Oranje". the Netherlands. I am dreaming that during your Kingship people start to understand what a Veteran is.
A "Veteran"- whether he or she is in active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve, is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to "The Netherlands" for an amount of " up to and including his life".  That is " honor". And there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.

Dutch-Government take your responsibility,Now! for the last 100 KNIL soldiers who are about to die...
I am dreaming that during your Kingship the Dutch Government will stand behind their morals, specially for the ones who suffered so many atrocities during WW2 in the former Dutch Indies and elsewhere.'We' their children demand that they deserve justice.I sincerely hope that your children grow up in a world without war.
During war time 40% of children are most of the time the victims.Children are unfortunately often the direct but powerless victims of the horrors committed against their family. A child survives the war, but the war will never leave a child, you can't erase the war from a child's mind.Because when after the war a  peace treaty  has been signed the war is not over! For many war children who survived, the fight starts against nightmares and war ghosts will haunt them, their fears and their dreams will never leave them.
The worst part is that all these horrors they struggle with and try to understand has been created by adults who themselves have children. How do these adults explain this to their own children??? Again with lies???
Please learn from the past, and maybe a time will come that the world will live in peace.
But mankind is stupid, because history repeat and repeat itself. Why are adults keep hurting children???
The children who were born after the war, learned in school that the United Nations would  take care that history would be history forever.
These past month's sadly enough it has been proven that the UN is an useless organization!

But we are mostly saddened by the ignorance of the Dutch Government about the past.Very little attention has been devoted to the Pacific War in WW2. Even less recognition has been directed to the former Dutch Indies To the KNIL soldiers, their women and children who suffered under the Japanese military.

Ask anybody about the Holocaust, and they immediately tell you that this had to do with the suffering of the Jews during WW2.

Ask them about the other Holocaust in Asia, and they do not know a thing about it.They have no idea about the Japanese prison camps and what happened in these camps during  WW2. They have no idea how many of their countrymen were starved, tortured,and killed during the occupancy of Japan.How many died during the occupancy of Japan, we don't know, we can only guess. And it is estimated that millions and millions lost their lives during WW2 in the Pacific, far more than the lives which were lost in Europe during WW2 , against Germany.

Even today the remains of  men, women and children are found in Indonesia and elsewhere. Often in deep wells under soccer fields etc.Many were swallowed up in the jungle, where they were used as slave workers by the Japanese to build railroads and bridges for their transportation of  their war supplies. Many died in transport ships and found their last resting place in the ocean. The Japanese kept no records. A human life was nothing to them. There were millions to replace them.
The infamous  Burma Railroad line alone has cost 100.000 people their death. Seventy five POW slave workers died a day. Tortured, starved, worked and bayonet to death by the Japanese military. Those who survived carried the scars for life, mentally as well as physically. After returning  to The Netherlands they received no help whatsoever.

The Dutch Government should be ashamed of themselves!

We want justice, compensation of war damage and back pay wages. Stop neglecting us.
This demonstration was held this year in The Hague.
I hope that The Netherlands no longer will neglect their Dutch citizens who fought, worked , died and lost everything what was so dear to them, in the Asian-Holocaust.I hope they won't forget the children from this holocaust, because these children and their children and their next generation will not forget.
                                                  Lest we forget!

                                                  Justice is due!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monthly Demonstration in The Hague. Petition 225.

NGO, Status Roster.

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 13 August 2013
Petition: 225
Subject: Towards a genuine dialogue.


We congratulate you on your party's election victory giving you the opportunity to reform and to reflect on today's harsh economic conditions. To bring forward change Japan should adopt an approach which takes into consideration the effects of acknowledging the wrongdoings of the recent past (World War Two) and the benefits which such an acknowledgment would give Japan economically and morally. In our previous petition 224 we suggested that self-reflection and compassion are the main elements in looking forward to the future. We urge you to include in your reforms meaningful elements to resolve the disputes of the past.

Prime Minister,

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts is a recognized NGO on the ECOSOC roster of the United Nations. In this capacity the Foundation advocated a regular dialogue with the government of Japan in order to resolve the enduring harm done to the Dutch nationals in concentration camps and outside those camps by the Japanese military during the occupation of former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. We made many suggestions to cross the bridge between our differing viewpoints. Unfortunately Japan's response was a legal dismissal that wholly failed to address the moral aspects of our issue. Our issue is not new as it exists since the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty Japan. Article 14 (a) of that treaty "recognized that Japan should pay reparations for the damages and suffering caused by it during the war". "Nevertheless it is also recognized that the resources of Japan are not presently sufficient".
Despite the global depression it is clear that Japan has now the resources to fulfill its war obligations as an honorary debt to the Dutch. With your election victory in hand we look forward ta a meaningful dialogue crossing the bridge to a lasting solution.

Prime Minister,

We understand to our regret that his Excellency Yasumasa Nagamine has been called back to take up an important position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. In the short period that he was based in The Hague he appreciated why we called for a meaningful dialogue in which both parties are prepared to make concessions in seeking a lasting solution. As outlined above art. 14 (a) of the San Francisco Peace Treaty offers an opening to that solution. In your plans for an economic reform of Japan's infrastructure within the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan should acknowledge its commitment to seek a solution for the nationals of each of the Allied Powers. It would enhance Japan's commitment to humanity and human rights principles as regularly stated by your representatives at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Each year the month of August is emotional for you and us. We both remember and celebrate the end of World War Two on 15th of August. On 14th of August the International Memorial Day for Comfort Women is established, to remember them as the innocent victims of brutal Japanese military violations. Violations of human rights which cannot be repealed by a Peace Treaty. Let us work towards a genuine dialogue.

We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition by you personally.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk


Tomorrow August 15th is remembrance day. We will remember the fallen soldiers, and  those who gave their lives so we could live in Freedom.

I  hope sincerely that Japan will one day recognize their military wrongdoings. Japan up to now perfumed WW2 with their sweet-scented lies.
It's time to stop lying and face the truth.
Deal with history of invasion of your Japanese militarists and start paying respect to the feelings of the people of the victim nations and start recognizing Japan's past.
My mother's voice was silenced, but my voice will not be silenced as long as I live. I will keep writing about that horrible time, when Japan took away everything what was dear to us. Your military killed my father, raped my mother and her sister while we were in your concentration camp in Moentilan on the island of Java, the former Dutch East Indies.You beat them and tortured them right in front of us children. These horrible memories are haunting me and haunted my mother for the rest of her life.The terrible nightmares which we have to deal with.Soon the ones who were there will not be alive anymore.
But many of our next generations (our children and grandchildren) are asking for answers and recognition for what your military have done during World War Two.
As Ron Livingstone an Ex-POW said:" No one knows you were there unless you tell your story".
Listen attentively, and remember that true tales are meant to be transmitted--- to keep them to oneself is betray them.
I just read a newspaper article that an Ex-POW, who survived the horrors of the notorious Death Railway has written his memoirs. He is 94 years old and his book just came out. "The Will to Live" by Len Baynes's.

He kept a diary while working on the railroad on pieces of scrap paper which he smudged after writing the daily happenings. He was the only one who could read what he had written down. He kept the pieces of scrap paper in a corner of his sleeping quarters. Many times the 'Japs" were asking him about these crumpled papers. He would tell them that he kept them handy  because he had diarrhea.

It's important that we will be reminded all the time how cruel war is.The millions of crosses are a reminder, their voices are silenced forever. But we have to keep their voices alive by remembering their sacrifices, so their death was not in vain.


Poem by Win Rainer, wife of a former POW.

Can we ever forget atrocities of the past?
Of those who suffered, in memory last
Those hopeless days of pain and fear
One day one month not knowing the year.
Survival through starvation and it's brutality
Men dying without hope a reality
Can we in a modern day appeal
That Changi  Jail it's mortality seal
A monument to be made secure
For those who died and those who endured.

Lest we forget!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Remembrance day, August 15, when Japan surrendered.

On August 14,1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered to the Allies, ending World War 2 in the Pacific.
Since then, both August 14 and 15 have been known as  "Victory over Japan Day" (V-J Day)
After six years of hostilities Japan's capitulation in the Pacific came finally to an end at a cost of millions of deaths.

It's important to remember those, who gave their lives, so we could live in freedom.
It's sad that we have a short memory. The worst part of memory is that we tend to forget, and lose sight of the importance of freedom. Our freedom came with lots of lost lives. There are many, many war graves to remind us. These graves are the witnesses.My father's grave is one of them.He died as a Japanese POW, on the infamous Burma rail road in Kui Yae near Rin Tin.Rin Tin was the worst camp on the railroad line, where my father was for three month.The Japanese decided to close this camp, there were too many deaths. They called it valley of death.My father was with his friend Ecko Veenstra transported to another camp Kui Yae, where he died a couple of weeks later. Mr. Veenstra survived and visited my mother after the war in March 1946. My mother was recovering in Bandoeng at the Java Centre, where they had taken her.She was so sick and so thin. It took her almost three month to get her strength back. It was a miracle that she survived.

My father's first resting place.
His remains were transferred to Kanchanaburi in Thailand, where they laid him to rest with thousands of his comrades.

rows upon rows
My father was only 26 years old.
Remember me! (The voice of the dead)

Remember me!

Duty called and I went to war
Though I'd never fired a gun before
I paid the price for a new day
As all my dreams were blown away.

Remember me!

We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of hell
Now battle's done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope or fear.

Remember me!

Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet.

Remember me!

In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me!, I am not dead
I'm just a voice within your head.

Harry Riley. 

Lest we forget!

The silenced history of the Dutch East Indies.

For those who experienced the other side of World War 2 in the Pacific, on the other side of the world,the horrible memories from that time is hard to come to grasp with. My mothers bitter memories of Japan's WW2 militarism runned deep.
She told me once that it was for her impossible to forgive Japan for what their military had done to her and to innocent women and children. The hardest part for her was when she thought about these innocent children. Many died as a result of starvation and a lack of vitamins . The look in their eyes and their little faces was forever carved in her mind. How helpless the mothers were, and how guilty they felt, when their child died. "How can you forgive these Japs", she would say," they had plenty to eat". She was never able to forgive or forget.She passed away in 2003, and suffered all her life of horrible nightmares.
It's even harder for one to fully grasp and understand the fear, pain, suffering and sadness, that they went through while imprisoned by the Japanese in these horrible camps, behind barbwire and fences. Tucked away and rotting away as if they were nobodies.
There has been very little attention devoted to the Pacific war in World War 2, even less recognition has been directed to the women and children who suffered under the Japanese military. Thousands died in these camps.
In remembrance of the Dutch victims in Japanese women camps.

                                                              Dutch-Indies. 1941-1945

I was only 1 1/2 years old when we were put in these so called Japanese internment camps. My mother and I, her sister Eke and Eke's four year old son and newborn baby  daughter Toby were internment in camp Moentiland from October 1942 till August 1, 1945. On August 1, 1945  we were transported to another camp, called Banjoebiroe 10 on the island of Java.The Japanese meant to kill us all, round up as many women, children in one camp and do what ever you can to get rid of them, it does not matter how it will be done, as long as there are no traces left behind. The same was planned for the men and boys, who were in separated camps.
My cousins and I spend our first years of our life in these filthy camps, with hundreds of other women and children, amongst rats, flies cockroaches, bedbugs, lice etc. on a mattress which was our living room, our bed room, our play room and ding room. Every day we were asking when we would see our Daddy's again. How hard it must have been for the mothers to tell us children that they did not know.Why did our daddy's left us. My mother told me that they had told us that we were going camping and that our daddy's would come later. My cousin Fop really had a hard time and kept asking month after month for his Daddy. He seemed to withdraw from the world and would sit quietly in a corner sucking his thumb.He barely survived. My mother always said, sucking his thumb saved him.I look at my grand children and one of them is now four years old, the age I was when I must have walked on bare feet with hardly any clothes on my back in this dirty filthy prison camp, hungry and thirsty, my hair full of lice.
War is dirty,war is cruel. The sad thing is that it is still going on in numerous parts of the world.It seems like mankind has not learned a thing.

I think about my father at the age of twenty five, fighting for his country. Then taken as a prisoner of war to Burma to build a rail road line through the jungle for the Japanese.How these young men must have suffered.
I look at my oldest grand daughter who is now 27 and married to this lovely young man, then I see my parents at that age and think about the hell they must have gone through.How grateful I am for them who fought for our freedom, so our children and grand children are living in peace.

Once we reach adulthood, most of us assume we know all there is to know about our parents and other family members. However, if you take the time to ask questions and actually listen to the answers, you may find there is still much to learn about people so close to you.
Oral histories are a dying art. Which is sad indeed for they show appropriate respect for the lives and experiences of those who have come before us.And just as important, they document those remembrances for those who's lives are over, that personal knowledge is lost forever. We live in a time now where everyone seems to be just looking ahead as though we deem nothing in the past worthy of our attention. The future is always fresh and exciting and it has a pull on us. Times past simply disappear. But yet it is important to "discover" by simply looking behind us.
You can learn from the past, from the good and the bad.It is important to remember. The past should never be forgotten.

So remember them who gave their lives, so we could live in peace!

Carla,Sietske,Ruud and I, visiting the memorial monument in Arnhem.

Bronbeek, Arnhem. Monument the Three Pagoden.
My fathers name, forever carved in stone. Klaas van der Wal.
 I never had a chance to know you. You were taken away too soon. But you always will be remembered. Your loving daughter Thea.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monthly Demonstration in The Hague: Petition 224

                    NGO,STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Sinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 9 July 2013.
Petition: 224
Subject: Self reflection and compassion.


Self reflection and compassion are the main elements in coping with the past and looking forward to the future. The role of politicians as elected representatives in this process is essential. The Dutch victims of the brutal and cruel occupation of Dutch East Indies expect that Japan accept the moral obligations stemming from the Japanese Military misconduct. We are amazed that present Japanese politicians do not understand that they have this obligation and allow Japanese diplomatic officials to tell other diplomats in Geneva "to shut up". Other officials are allowed to make outrageous statements about the necessity of Comfort Women for the Japanese soldiers without strong condemnation by you. And then the latest scandal of funds set aside to help earthquake, tsunami and nuclear victims, to which Dutch nationals contributed substantially. Some of these contributions, appear to be allocated to Japanese power companies. Your order to re-examine the spending of the disater budget demonstrate that you take self reflection and compassion seriously.

Prime Minister,

Mayor Toru Hashimoto's approval of the institutionalization by the Japanese Military of sexual slavery, known as Comfort Women, is outrageous. His remarks that enforced prostitution of young girls and women was necessary for the Japanese Military at war, brought back the stories the Dutch girls and women in the Japanese concentration camps had to endure. The true story is that Japanese officers recruited from these camps young underage girls and women for their own pleasure. The military tribunal Semarang sexual slavery case made that very clear! Senior Japanese officers visited in their desire to satisfy the hospital concentration camp Solo and ordered the young girls and women to line up.The Dutch camp leader and the Dutch medical doctor, both women, argued that they were not fit for the line up.The officers became angry and hit and kicked the doctor so badly that she died several days later. It was for the courageous behavior of the doctor and the camp leader that these girls and women were saved from sexual slavery. The officers never returned, apparently they were satisfied elsewhere. The full story will be published in our News Magazine on the occasion of 14th August Comfort Women's Memorial Day.

Prime Minister,

In this petition we suggest that you and the Japanese people you represent, show self reflection and compassion with the past to look forward to the future with dignity. Stick to the Kona Statement of August 4, 1993 apologizing for immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds inflicted on thousands of Comfort Women, mostly Korean but also from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Netherlands. Acknowledge the moral obligations stemming from the military occupation of Dutch East Indies and in particular the way the Dutch were maltreated. This would reflect on you as Prime Minister of Japan and on your personal dignity!

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk


Listen attentively, and remember that true tales are mend to be transmitted----- to keep them to oneself is to betray them.


We dealt with an enemy who did not believe in the Geneva Convention.
Soldiers do rape, that happens every day all over the world. But rarely do nations institutionalize rape which is what Japan did in World War 2 and during their colonial days. To deny this or justify it is insane. It would be like the US saying that the fire bombings of Tokyo did not happen, that Japanese people set the fires themselves. Crazy talk! Japan is embarrassing themselves by denying reality.

Between 1932 and the end of the Second World War, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial Army forced over 200.000 women and girls into sexual slavery in rape centers throughout Asia. These rape centers have often been referred to in objectionably euphemistic terms as "Comfort Stations".
Its now clear that both the Japanese Government and military were directly involved in the establisment of rape centers throughout Asia during World War 2.
The women who were enslaved by the Japanese military in these centers.... many of whom were between the ages of 11 and 20 years old...... were housed in locations throughout Japanese controlled Asia, where they were forcibly raped multiple times on a daily basis and subjected to severe physical abuse and exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.
The women, many of whom were still children at the time, were in fact enslaved in rape centers either directly by the Japanese military or with the full knowledge and support of the Japanese military.

***** The resolution was endorsed by a majority in favor on August 27 at the 51 st session of the "UN Sub-Commision on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Geneva from August 2 to 27.
This report from the UN Commission of Human Rights 1998.
It's important to recognize the need to address past, unremedied human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law violations involving sexual slavery and sexual violence****

My mother and her sister were used by these Japanese military, while we were imprisoned in Moentilan. My mother had to swear to her older sister never to talk about it. We have to keep this to our selves. But my mother told her younger sister when they returned back in the Netherlands. I am glad she did, because I start to understand more and more what I had seen during that time, as a toddler. Things I had seen I would otherwise never been able to understand.Things, which I saw my mother trying to cope with during the rest of her life.The nightmares and the hatred towards Japanese. The disappointment with the Queen, when the emperor Hirohito came to the Netherlands in 1971 to visit. How terrible sad she was. It's no wonder that my step-sister and brother and I were not interested when Prins Willem became King. Some people did not understand us, but that's what it is. I suppose that's how we were brought up. What my mother and her sister felt was taking over our lives as well. My mother, her sister and numerous people from the Dutch East Indies felt so utterly disappointed and betrayed.Never were they able to tell what they had endured in those horrible Japanese camps. The Dutch people were to occupied with their own stories about World War 2, and what the Nazis had done to human beings. After all my mother and her sister had been in paradise, where it was all sunshine and food growing along side the road on trees.My mother and her sister are in a better world today. They passed away taking their stories with them.
May they rest in peace!
My mother on the right with her sister on the left.

Happy times, three years before the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies.Two very happy women, who's lives would be shattered.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monthly Demonstration in The Hague, petition 223

                                              FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                                                                                        NGO,Status Roster

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 11 June 2013.
Petition: 223
Subject: Consider Japan's moral obligations from the recent past before changing the constitution.


At the expense of the individual victims of Japan's occupation of territories in South East Asia during World War Two Japan's wealth grew since the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951. In paricular, the Dutch from former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, were denied by this treaty to claim from Japan their individual loss of health and property. The parties to the treaty were generous to the Japanese people despite the cruel violations of human rights by the Imperial Military. The so called Yoshida-Stikker agreement turned out to be a farce leaving the Dutch surviving the Japanese concentration camps with a pittance. The traumas, ill health, loss of property and career they had to endure were forgotten. Those who survived and who are still alive suffer daily from the brutal and sinister treatment in the name of the Emperor at the hands of the Japanes military.

Prime Minister,
In 1947 the United States of America drafted a new constitution for Japan bearing in mind how Japan terrorized its neighbors in war, violating human rights and looting the properties of individuals. In that constitution article 9 made it clear that Japan:
"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes."
Now more than 60 years later you as Prime Minister want to change this noble article forgetting the reasons why the Americans put it in in it in the first place. Unfortunately, one must admit that the ideal world has not materialized. War is still going on as the means settling disputes. In revising the present constitution Japan must settle its historic failures too. The moral obligation towards the victims of Japan's military aggression is not only a must in preventing future wars, but is also in keeping with the Japanese aspired peace tradition.

Prime Minister
It appears that you and your party continue to glorify Japan's military past. Changing the constitution and remembering the effective date of the San Francisca Peace treaty as restoration day, does not revive Japan's economy. It does not restore a sense of hope and determination for the future. In practice it is contrary. As long as Japan does not acknowledge its World War Two moral responsibility to the victims and their next of kin, Japan's relations in the world will be stained and suspect. You cannot pass this responsibility on to your and Japan's children. You must act now, acknowledge the wrong doings of the Imperial Army and settle Japan's moral obligations.
Germany did not need a peace treaty to recognize that there was hope and determination for the future. The post war leaders of Germany recognized immediately after the war that the German nation would never be trusted again as long as they did not acknowledge the wrongdoings during World War Two. They paid respect, acknowledged and compensated for their wrongdoings.

Japan used the San Francisco Peace Treat only to its own benefit and denied its moral obl;igations. Its politicians continue to hurt the victims by visiting the Yasukuni shrine.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk


It's hard to believe that a month has gone by since my husband and I were at the demonstration in The Hague. Time passes quickly. Petition 223 has been handed over today to the Japanese embassy. I wonder if I see any results in my life time.
Why can't Japan do what Germany has done.Japan has an obligation to the whole world. To China, to Korea, to Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. To Australia, The Netherlands, the US, the UK and a raft of others; to all the victims of Japans aggression. The world does not 'misunderstand' Japan. There are not two histories- one for the rest of the world and one where Japan is somehow an innocent victim. We know damn well what they did. It is time for the elders and leadership and these so called 'historians' of Japan to stop lying to their own people. They'd be the laughing stock of the planet if only their white washing were applied to crimes that hadn't been so heinous.

Another shining example of the quality of Japanese history, education. If you bother  Shinzo ABE and Hashimoto to pick up a book now and again, you may discover that Japan has a great deal to apologize for from actions taken in World War Two. Your military actions are remembered by the people who are still alive today. They remember bodies rotting near a point where they were killed by Japanese soldiers. People who were there remember about soldiers tossing children around on bayonet tips. And mothers being killed in front of their children. It is very easy to point out how horrible the Nazis were. Probably even someone with your history grasp can understand that. But what you don't seem to understand is that the Japanese, aside from being allied with the Nazis, carried out their own mass murder in Asia. In the name of the Emperor liberating Asia from the west and from other Asians all at the same time. And of course, liberating people from life it self.
So I suggest buy some real history books so you can learn exactly what you need to be apologizing for and hopefully make up for the woeful ineptitude of local Japanese history instruction.
Stop lying about the cruel violations your Imperial military inflicted on human beings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monthly Demonstration The Haque.Petition 222

                                           FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                                                                             NGO,STATUS ROSTER 

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 14 May, 2013
Petition: 222
Subject: Visits to the Yasukuni Shrine hurt war victims.


It hurts the victims  of the Japanese military war terror that ministers of your governments and members of the Japanese parliament continue to visit the Yasukuni Shrine allegedly honoring Japan's war dead. As you know among the dead honored by the visits are 14 former World War Two war leaders convicted of war crimes. This time you did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine, but paid for equipment made of wood and fabric, bearing your name and title, decorating an altar at the Yasukuni Shrine. Indirectly thus you approved the Yasukuni visits by your party members.These visits hurt. They deny Japan's vicious and brutal military history and demonstrate that Japan did not learn from its past. How often do we have to tell you this? Excuses are meaningless as long as you approve of these insults.

Prime Minister,
What a contrast to the Dutch remembrance on May 4th. The Dutch remembered their war dead both in Europe and in Asia at the Dam monument. Our King and Queen laid a wreath and paid respect to those who died. Both were visible moved and emotionally involved. The former commander of all Dutch military forces General Van Uhm reflected on war and the egocentric attitude of those who glorify war for their personal benefit. He strongly advised all to remember the consequences of war and its criminal aspects. War mongers have no respect for others but for themselves. "Not you nor me, but we all must adhere this advice."

Prime Minister
However, it appears that your party continue to glorify Japan's military past.Changing the constitution and remembering the effective date of the San Francisco Peace treaty does not revive Japan's economy. It does not restore a sense of hope and determination for the future. In practice it is contrary: as long as Japan does not acknowledge its World War Two moral responsibility to the victims and their next of kin Japan's relations in the world will be strained ans suspect.

You cannot pass this responsibility to your and Japan's children.

Germany did not need a peace treaty to recognize that there was hope and determination for the future. The post war leaders of Germany recognized immediately after the war that the German nation would never be trusted again as long as they did not acknowledge the wrongdoings during World War Two. They paid respect, acknowledged and compensated for their wrongdoings.
Japan used the San Francisco Peace Treat only to its own benefit, avoided its moral obligations and will remain haunted for it. In the meantime Japan hurts the victims by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk

We were able to join the demonstration in The Hague on this day May 14, 2013. As usual the curtains of the Japanese Embassy closed as soon as we arrived.

The Hague, Japanese Embassy.
The curtains are closed, Japan doesn't seem to be able to face the truth.

How much longer will Japan try to ignore us? How much longer will Japan keep hurting the victims from their vicious past? Is Japan ever going to acknowledge their wrong doings. Your military worked our fathers to death, raped our mothers and children, starved us to death and beat us to death.For almost four years you kept us behind barb wire and high walls and fences. You were using our mothers as slaves, to work your vegetable on the fields outside the camps. From morning till night they had to dig and shovel.
Dig and shovel in the burning sun.

The wall in camp Tjimani, where the Jap, European and Ambonese women tortured.1944
When we grow older we get caught up in our past. When my mother passed away I started to think about myself and began to wonder about our tumultuous past. It's when you reach a certain age, and the persons most dear to you pass away, you begin to wonder how it was that I had become the person I am today. When you are young you are too busy building your future, you have no time reflecting on the past, all you think about is your future. Although my nights were often disturbed by demons from my childhood, I managed to push them to the background. Since I am retired my mind has been constantly occupied with my past and what happened to us during World War 2 in the Far East.
I was only one and half years old when my mother, her sister and my two cousins were taken from our houses and put in concentration camps.We were taken to Moentilan to a former Catholic training college. This would be our home for the next two years and eight months.Locked up by the Japanese with hundreds of other mothers and their children.We only had a bed, if you could call it a bed.On August 1, 1945 we were taken to another camp Banjoebiroe 10, where the Japanese were planning to mass murder us.I was 4 1/2 when we were finally free , my mother near death.
Over full prison, Banjoebiroe 10.

It's unbelievable what a four year old can remember, it's blurry, but I often confronted my mother with questions. All her  life she has tried to erase it from my mind.
What I saw as a 41/2 year old will forever be burned in my brains.Things I did not understand at the time, horrible things, which sometimes come back at me with so much force.Things I now start to understand.Things which gave me nightmares as a child.There was one picture which I was never able to forget.There was a church on the property of this concentration camp and I was waiting for my mother, because I had seen that a man with big boots....  (a Japanese) had taken her inside.Actually he had dragged her. I waited patiently outside, because I knew that I was not allowed inside.Finally my mother came out,she was crying and I remember seeing blood. It's something a child will never forget. I had no idea at the time what your military had done to her.

Punishment in the sun for hours.
 After 5 minutes.....After 1/2 an hour....... After one hour or longer you could hardly stand up.
Punishment in the rain in the middle of the night after a hard days work.
For the longest time she never talked about it, until her arrival in 1946 in The Netherlands she told her younger sister that she was raped numerous times inside that church. Only just 24 years old. Her life shattered, her husband, my father killed by your military, starved, beaten and worked to death on your horrible railroad tracks through the jungle. The Birma railroad line.

Not only my mother was raped her sister who was in the same concentration camp with her two small children was also viciously abused numerous times.How can Japan keep denying that this did not happen?
It makes me terrible sad to think about it. To live the rest of your life with these horrible memories must have been not easy. When Hirohito the emperor of Japan was invited to The Netherlands in October 1971, my mother and her sister were in disbelieve. How could this be, this murderer would be walking on Dutch soil, and would sit with our Queen at a table full of wonderful food and beautiful dishes. The pictures in the newspaper showed a smiling Hirohito next to our Queen on the balcony at our Palace. She and her sister never believed in our Queen ever again.

That day my mother and her sister died a little more again.There faith was shattered.
Hirohito who had seen the war as an adventure and had cost in Asian 20 million people their lives. Hirohito who had given the order to murder every men, women and children who were in Japanese concentration camps.He did not care how it was going to be done, as long as the military got rid of them.Poison them, shoot them, starve them, as long as there are no traces left.Women had to dig trenches, which they did not know at the time, would be their graves.

The prime minister, Hideki Tojo, bragged  that no harm could ever befall the sun Goddess's blessed children and that their sacred homeland was inviolate. Hirohito was God, and damage to his land simply could not happen.
The military Samurai of the Sun God, would never permit such a sacrilege. Nihon Nippon, the sacred Land of the Rising Sun could never be bombed. That will never happen.Hirohito believed that they could win the war and would fight to the bitter end. Finally after the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the emperor Hirohito decided to capitulate.
We were saved by the A-Bombs.

In December 2012 Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe planned to take back the excuses made to the so called "comfort women"- foreigners (amongst them Dutch) women, who during World War 2 were forced to have sex with Japanese military. It was said that it was necessary for their military who fought so hard to be comforted by women. The question was asked;" why Japan did not ship and use their own women to comfort their military".......No comment.
Many forum participants had no words for this shameless decision from the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe plans, to take back the apology.

Japan I only have one word for you: ' Shameless'.
Its 'Unacceptable' and ' an Infamous deed!
It's a disgrace and rude to take back a statement to win popularity amongst the extreme nationalists. How deep can you sink?. "Excuses are never temporary".
Which concrete sanctions have to be taken to Japan if the excuses to the "comfort women" are taken back.There are different opinions, J.T. de Heus is thinking about calling back the Dutch ambassador in Tokyo to discuss this matter.Mark Beumer pleads for a boycott of some Japanese products and an accusation to the International Court of Human Rights. Peter Lendfers hopes that Tokyo will be forced  to keep the apology in place and also that Japan will be forced to pay compensation to the victims.Fred Westen believes in an quiet diplomacy, he believes that threats with sanctions will not work with Japan. Rick Moermans thinks that sanctions are unwise due to the difficult times of the economy.

Not many survivors of that horrible time are still with us. But as long as we are able to, we will remind Japan of their past, so it will never be forgotten.
Let history not repeat itself.

This was a song which was often sang in camp, the author is unknown. It was written in Dutch so I try to translate it as best as I can.

Thanks for the memory!

Thanks for the memory
And thanks to the lovely Jap
Who we never forgot
The pleasures we had were so nice
There, in that over full paradise
Oh, I thank you so much

Many's the time we feasted
And few the times we fasted
Oh, well, it was swell while it lasted
We did have fun, and no harm done.

Thanks for the memory
and thanks to uncle Yamaha
Of whom we laughed so much
And Charley, the succulent little man
He studied to become a police man
How lovely it was with these yellow men.

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