One master as bad as another

In the Aug. 5 Hotline to Nagatacho article, “For the sake of Japan’s future, stop glorifying past crimes at Yasukuni,” J.F. Van Wagtendonk applauds the yearly remembrance ceremony of the Dutch while condemning visitations by Japanese politicians to Yasukuni Shrine, which, he reminds us, houses the spirits of “14 individuals convicted for their actions during World War II.”

It is an uncontested historical fact, however, that while the Tokyo Trial was convicting these 14 individuals for attacking the “freedoms” of Asians, the Dutch were attempting a brutal reimposition of their colony in the islands that presently constitute Indonesia. Does Van Wagtendonk not see a parallel between Japanese imperialism and that of the Dutch?

Van Wagtendonk states that until Japan confronts its past, its “relations with the rest of the world will be strained and suspect.”

I believe the “world” to which Van Wagtendonk refers is the world of former Western imperial powers. Were he to talk to a few of his nation’s former subjects in Indonesia, he would find that they don’t draw much distinction between the Dutch and Japanese; to them, one imperial master is as bad as another.

paul de vries
kawaguchi, saitama

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.