Dutch petition against Security Council seat for Japan

The Chinese aren’t the only ones protesting the possibility of Japan serving on the UN Security Council. Several Dutch organizations representing citizens who suffered atrocities under the Japanese during WWII have launched the following petition.

The Hague, April 6th, 2005.

Statement by 87 NGO’s and 12 individuals:

Japan is unfit to become a Permanent Member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

Your Excellency, Madame

In an unprecedented cooperation 87 organizations, many of them NGO’s, and 12 individuals around the world have combined in condemning Japan’s efforts in becoming a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, this as long as Japan does not make a proper apology and pay just compensation to the victims of Japans war crimes during World War Two.

The organizations represent millions of people around the world who suffered in one way or another from the brutality and misconduct by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two, and consequently were robbed of their future.

Having found commonality between us we are determined to make use of all proper channels and institutions to broadcast that Japan, its people and its industry are unfit to become a permanent member of the Security Council.

We have been requested by the supporting organizations and individuals to present to you the Statement. We do this with great honor and respect for all the millions who died at the hands of the Japanese soldiers and their servants and for all those who survived the Japanese brutality seeking a proper apology and payment of a just compensation.

On behalf of the supporting organizations and individuals

J.F. van Wagtendonk
Dr. A de Pijper

Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts

This was emailed to me so I can’t provide a link. Anyone who’s read about how the Japanese treated Dutch POWs (and probably all POWs)during WWII knows where these guys are coming from.

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts was founded in 1990 by war casualties who suffered at Japanese hands in former Dutch East India during World War II. Since that time the groups has asked the Japanese for an official apology and reparations.

Update: See the comments for this group’s URL.

The Discussion: 25 Comments

Here’s the homepage of the Dutch organization that allegedly wrote that memo.

One of its goals, in addition to an official apology for WW2 atrocities, is getting the Japanese government to pay cash reparations to Dutch colonists who lost their Indonesian estates after the Japanese invasion.

They want $2 billion. Plus interest.

April 12, 2005 @ 12:34 pm | Comment

And you know something Tian? The poor guy selling the cars is a Chinese worker, as are all his colleagues at the showroom. And now they’re fucked. Congratulations, demonstrators.

April 12, 2005 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

It’s a shame that reality cannot mimick art in this case. If only things were only as simple as they are in the movies. Have you heard of a movie called The Go Masters Richard? It’s an interesting collaboration effort made by some Chinese and Japanese film makers during the early 80’s. Quite a touching movie but exceedingly difficult to find (most definetly won’t be at your local blockbuster) that details the reconciliation between two players of this old strategy game and the tribulations of the times.

There is a copy available here
a hefty 300 megabytes but actually a mere 30 minute download for those with broadband. The image quality is very poor(as is the framerate) since its so small for a video file coming in at a heft 2 hours +. However the quality of the film itself is enough to warrant a viewing and the fact that it is nearly impossible to find means that this digital version maybe the only one available to most people.

p.s. there is also something wrong with the audio stream in that it doesn’t exactly match the bitrate of the video stream. Halfway into the movie, the sound becomes noticeably disjointed with the film. To reconcile this, I used virtua dub and recreated and resaved it (direct stream copy) with the audio resynched to the video. This fixes the audio problem somewhat, but it’s still present towards the middle of the film.

April 12, 2005 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

well China isnt exactly the most humanfriendly country either ,but anyway , Holland did his share in the past to , slevery etc, how far back must we go.
they don’t apologise , so what ,get even.

April 12, 2005 @ 5:37 pm | Comment

Why don’t we just agree that we all owe everybody an apology? Let’s have one long group apology for all of man’s inhumanity to man committed acrtoss the centuries and millennia. Let’s make it super-duper sincere and gushy. And then let’s get on with serious business instead of dwelling on ancient grudges.

April 12, 2005 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

I think all those debates have missed an important point. The rage has less to do with apology, but more to do with the endorsement (or the appearance of endorsement ) on those troubling textbooks by Japanese textbook.

The excuse by Japanese government is, look, we have speech freedom, so, we have to let those books published. If so, why do you need government review on those textbooks anyway?

The same with shrine visit. The prime minister claims he has freedom to visit the shrine. If so, why did he have to do it in official capacity, unless he really wants to piss people off? Well, some people are pissed. He should be satisfied now.

April 12, 2005 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

I’m so sorry!

April 12, 2005 @ 6:58 pm | Comment


So the Dutch want compensation because Japanese Imperialists interrupted the Dutch Imperialists’ exploitation of the Indonesians? My heart bleeds for them.

April 12, 2005 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

Conrad: Exactly.

But then, maybe those octogenarian Dutchies plan to donate their reparations to the descendants of the Indonesians whom they enslaved for 300 years. And maybe pigs will fly out of my butt.

April 13, 2005 @ 12:55 am | Comment

My god … Vaara and Conrad agree on something. That’s like … me and Vaara agreeing on something. Quick Richard, immortalise the moment.

By the way, I hereby, on behalf of my race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and whatever other subgroup I may belong to, offer my heartfelt apology to any other subgroup who myself or mine have oppressed or offended in any way. There, that ought to about cover it.

April 13, 2005 @ 7:26 am | Comment

“Here’s the homepage of the Dutch organization that allegedly wrote that memo.”


That is the homepage of one of the 87 organisations that wrote the petition!That organisation is Dutch,but remember the petition is international.


“So the Dutch want compensation because Japanese Imperialists interrupted the Dutch Imperialists’ exploitation of the Indonesians? My heart bleeds for them.”

What about the Eurasians?Great to be sarcastic as you sit in front of your computer and pass judgement.Many of these “Dutch Imperialists” are of mixed blood,a product of slavery,not Dutch not Indonesian.

Hemaworstje & Vaara

well China isnt exactly the most humanfriendly country either ,but anyway , Holland did his share in the past to , slevery etc, how far back must we go.
they don’t apologise , so what ,get even.

Conrad: Exactly.

But then, maybe those octogenarian Dutchies plan to donate their reparations to the descendants of the Indonesians whom they enslaved for 300 years. And maybe pigs will fly out of my butt.

Rather heartless ,if you really knew what happened there,I doubt you would make such comments ,or are you so above it all, that human suffering is meaningless to you?


April 13, 2005 @ 8:30 am | Comment

Alas, Mark, you are missing the larger point: All peoples everywhere have done inhumane things and had inhumane things done to them. Suffering is universal and not reserved for the Chinese or the Dutch or the Jews or whomever. Yes, there are differences in scale, but no one is pure. We all owe each other a big apology for being cruel to one another. None of the suffering is “meaningless” but neither is it especially unusual in light of man’s history through ther ages. The one glaring exception may be the Holocaust, only because it was on such a massive scale and was carried out by the world’s most civilized and best-educated people. And that serves to remind us that any of us, at any time under the right circumstances, is capable of inflicting unthinkable harm against our fellow man.

April 13, 2005 @ 8:55 am | Comment

I agree with Richard and others that, if we all go back far enough, everybody’s ancestors had blood on their hands. A round-robin apology is hollow and meaningless. However, those who take this as an opportunity to be sneering and dismissive of suffering should think about how they would feel if it where their direct forebears who were thus brutalized.

Think about the American response to 9/11. Think about how out-of-proportion, hypocritical and insane way we lashed out when just a couple thousand of our citizens died terrible deaths. Nobody talked about how 2000++ people is just a drop in the bucket compared to the over American population. Or that American people kill themselves all the time by eating big macs and smoking cigarettes. Or how since we treated the Indians so shabbily, we’re hardly in a position to complain.

Emotional people do irrational things. I’m not justifying the invasion of Iraq. Just pointing out the power of emotions.

China and Japan are both to blame. China, for fanning the flames of hate. Japan, for evasion and denial of past atrocities. We should both grow up and move along. But for bystanders, dismissing the feelings and the hurt on the side of the Chinese is counter-productive and almost-certainly hypocritical.

April 13, 2005 @ 10:31 am | Comment

I understand your points and they are well taken, Panda. But part of the wonder of humanity, along with the sadism and bloodshed, is its capacity for forgiveness and for moving on. No matter what you say about the Japanese horrors, it was 60 years ago, they have apologized more than once, it had fallen into the background until the “chowderheads” revived the issue to boost the campaign of nationalism (and divert attention away from Tianenmen Square and government corruption), and it does make Chna look vengeful and childish, at least the way the protests have been conducted. But no one is dismissing anyone’s hurt feelings. My heart goes out to a lot of victims of a lot of murderous actions. But life goes on, and to dwell obsessively on these acts is of no benefit to anyone, especially when the rage ends up hurting the Chinese more than anyone else.

April 13, 2005 @ 10:55 am | Comment

I just have to say, I am totally in love with your name. Long Live the Battlepanda!

April 13, 2005 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

Jing, I was about to comment on Battlepanda’s handle as well…I can’t really describe the mental image it conjurs up…but it makes me giggle every time!

April 13, 2005 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

Thanks, Jing and Lisa. Like so much else, I stole from Jon Stewart (When morocco offered 5000 combat monkeys in support of the U.S. war in Iraq, the snarky one quipped “and they’ll be riding the battle koalas that the Australian government donated into the fray…”)

I think at some point we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I probably agree with 95% of what you say and my comments are often in response to other commenters who ARE dismissive. Perhaps it is true that this issue does not bring out the best in me. I don’t know. But as willing as I am to forgive, I will never forget. Incidentally, I hardly think it’s fair that the loonies on the Chinese side is “making China look vengeful and childish” while there are just as many loonies on the Japanese side and they recieve individual censure rather than broad condemnation.

April 13, 2005 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

Panda, I just haven’t seen that side of the Japanese protestors. Where/when were they acting like “loonies”? (Serious querstion, not meant to be sarcastic or confrontational.)

April 13, 2005 @ 9:26 pm | Comment


I pointed out that the petition was international,and the Dutch group who many focused their attention on were just one of the signatories of that petition.But I missed the point!I didn’t disagree with what you said about us all owing each other an apology( I happen to agree,but responding to it was not my point),but you indicated in your reply that I missed the larger point.I pointed out that many of the so called Dutch Imperialists were not full blooded Dutch,but people of mixed blood,a product of slavery.Then I pointed out that dismissing the victims suffering because they happened to have some link to an imperial system,regardless of what actually took place was heartless.

I’m not disputing what you said about people everywhere ,Richard.I never disputed that point.Alas Richard,maybe you never understood my point.


April 13, 2005 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

Could be, but don;t worry about it. Misunderstandings happen; if I misunderstood you, my apologies.

April 13, 2005 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

No problem.

April 13, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

Interesting and valid about how we all have blood on our hands. The way we intermarry, some of have ancestors on both sides of the same massacres by now, so we can keep the apology crap internal. Grudges are usuaully about the present rather than the past, usually about inventing some moral advantage over someone else or figleafing over own our anger at our lack of power or success.

It is also true that so many who decry the might-is-right mentality are jsut failed aggressors – Sweden (Remember when we were a great power?) comes to mind, and there are many others.

As Jing pointed out a few threads ago, being able to kick ass on all comers is a fairly stable basis for respect in the international realm, or words to that effect. Yes indeed, it sucks to be weak, but begging and blustering for other people’s contrition is not much of a remedy.

April 14, 2005 @ 11:10 am | Comment

In reference to the enslavement of Indonesians by the Dutch – how totally embarrassing and pathetic, to be enslaved by the Dutch! How many Dutch were there ever in those islands compared to the overall population? Somebody else was obviously doing the heavy lifting for them.

April 14, 2005 @ 11:21 am | Comment

I can guess that several of the previous responses did not come from those who survived the camps. are you aware of the torture they went through? imagine seeing your friends and family brutally murdered in front of you. Asking for an apology is not asking to much. Yes, my family did lose their home but they lost much more. They lost their childhood and their minds. This is why there are and were laws regarding prisoners of war and their treatment. Many survivors have lasting medical issues, the may be undereduated and might not be able to fully cope with daily life and that is what they want compensation for. Japan needs to admit that what they did was wrong.

September 30, 2006 @ 1:12 am | Comment

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