The contents of the letter of the Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka sent to the Project Implementation Committee in the Netherlands (PICN) on July 6, 2001
On the occasion of the conclusion of the project concerning the issue of the so-called "wartime comfort women" in the Netherlands, which has been implemented by the Asian Women's Fund for the past three years, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to General ret. G.L.J. Huyser, Mrs. Drs. M.J. Hamer-Monod de Froideville, and all the members of the Project Implementation Committee in the Netherlands (PICN) for your tremendous efforts in successfully carrying out this project.
The Government of Japan recognizes that the issue of "comfort women", with the involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women, and has expressed its sincere apology and deep remorse to all those who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as "comfort women".
In the Statement of the Prime Minister in 1995, the Government of Japan once again acknowledged with deep remorse and sincere apology for the enormous damage and suffering inflicted by Japan on the people of many countries, including the Netherlands, during a certain period in the past. Such feelings of remorse and apology remain unchanged among the members of the current Cabinet.
The Government of Japan, to crystallize such feelings, provides all possible cooperation for the Asian Women's Fund, which was established in July 1995, to implement projects that express national atonement with regard to this issue.
I am delighted that "Atonement Projects" promoted by the Asian Women's Fund have been achieving significant goals. In the Netherlands, the project has provided medical and welfare goods and services to a total of 78 people, and I am told that these individuals have expressed, in various ways, their appreciation for this project.
I believe that Japan, painfully aware of our grave moral responsibility, with feelings of sincere apology and deep remorse, should face up squarely to our history and accurately convey the record of the past to future generations in order to ensure that such an occurrence may never be repeated.
I would appreciate it if you could extend my expression of these sentiments to those who suffered at that time.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my deepest gratitude for your cooperation and efforts, and send my best wishes for the health and success of all the members of PICN.
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