FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
His Excellency, Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 13 May 2014
Subject: Meaningful formal apology by Japan for its wartime atrocities.
The Netherlands remember their war dead on May 4th. Each year it is a very moving moment when the King and Queen lay their wreath in remembrance, thus paying their respect to all Dutch who died during World War Two and during peace keeping missions. It is also the moment to reflect on how Japan remembers World War Two. In particular how Japan has dealt with the atrocities by its Imperial Army, its poor apology to the victims and their next of kin and Japan's disregard of world opinion.
The Kono statement and the Murayama statement are limited apologies as they deny Japan's liability for the consequences of the Imperial Army's violations of human rights. They do not involve the victims and their next of kin in a gesture of penance. The actions of current Japanese politicians demonstrate time and again that the apologies are not made sincerely by the Japanese nation and continue to haunt Japan. The suggested revision of the constitution proves that the Japanese apologies in their present form cannot be taken seriously. Formal government apologies have to be meaningful and state the facts in order to be acceptable now and in the future. It is essential that Japan issues a meaningful apology in which:
- Japan acknowledges the wartime atrocities by its Imperial Army,
- Japan accepts responsibility for these atrocities,
- Japan sincerely apologizes and incorporates the surviving victims and their
next of kin in formulating the apology,
- Japan promises that its military nor any other government body in future
are involved in atrocities and other violations of human rights,
- Japan offers concrete reparations to the victims and their next of kin,
- Japan formally remembers in wartime ceremonies the atrocities,
involves the victims and their next of kin and educates its people
on the importance to remember the past for a better future,
- Japan's apology is by an act of Parliament, in which it accepts both legally
and morally liability to the victims and their next of kin and penalizes denial
of the atrocities by politicians.
We are not alone in requesting Japan to apologize for its wartime atrocities. In formulating our request we made use of the concept of apology by Calvin Hancock for Toronto ALPHA, Association for learning and preserving the history of World War Two in Asia.
We require a personal acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,
The following is an article I read while in The Netherlands. It was written in the newspaper Haarlems Dagblad on April 26,2014. I will translate it as best as I can.
American president wants a solution about the affair of the 'comfort women'
OBAMA IS ANGRY WITH JAPAN
From our reporter:
Seoul * The American president Barack Obama called upon Japan in strong words to get to a solution about the 'comfort women', foreign women who during World War Two were forced by the Japanese Military to work in brothels as sex slaves. He likes to have this business once and for all solved.
This was a terrible and injustice of the human rights", he said during a visit to the South Korean capital city Seoul. The matter of comfort women clouds the relation ship between Japan and South Korea. But also women from other countries like, The Netherlands, the Philippines and China, were victims of this terrible crime from the Imperial Army. They also are fighting for decades for recognition and excuses and compensation from the Japanese government. According to Obama the victims have the right' to be heard and have the right to be respected'."We have to come to an accurate picture from what has happened during that time", said President Obama. The Japanese prime minister Shinzo ABE has accepted the past, according to Obama and has agreed to recognize this 'honestly and sincerely'. "My hope is that we can come to an honest conclusion to bring these tensions from the past to an end and work on the future and the possibility for peace and prosperity for all nations."
The American president met during the top nuclear meeting in The Hague the government leaders of both Asian countries for the first time since their line of duty. They already had discussed earlier this month about the question of the 'comfort women'.
The Foundationof 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 Imperial Japanese military during World War Two.
The Dutch citizens were interned in concentration camps, families were split up and men, women and children put in separate camps. No communication was allowed, smuggling of messages was impossible; if caught it 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 organised 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.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
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 roster
The secretary-General has received the following statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.
[ 18 August 2013 ]
*This statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-governmental organization(s).
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 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 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. Tes, 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 vomitting 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 were they, 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 the 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 to 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 elase 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 certainly not by a woman!
Then all the officers went mad. Doctor Engels was kicked till she bled and beaten up completely, until she stopped moving. She was then 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 the 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 Camp7 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.
some camp drawings:
|Boys have to go to separate camps, mothers crying saying goodbye.|