The Japan-Netherlands Peace Exchange Program

On October 26th, 2023, as part of the “The Japan-Netherlands Peace Exchange Program” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 6 guests from the Netherlands visited the campus and interacted with students. In 1942, during the World WarⅡ, the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) and detained 90 thousand Dutch people living there. This program’s aim was to encourage deeper reconciliation with the Dutch people who have difficult feelings for Japan. The program was organized by the Sophia Institute for Human Security and the Center for Global Education and Discovery.

After Professor AOKI Ken, Director of the Sophia Institute for Human Security (Faculty of Economics, Department of Economics) made a welcome speech and the Center for Global Education and Discovery introduced Sophia, the students made group presentations titled “Netherlands in Japan” and “Japan in the Netherlands.” During the presentation in a friendly atmosphere, students asked how to pronounce some words in Dutch and some of the students shared an experience in the Netherlands. They deepened their understanding of culture and history with each other by sharing their knowledge and experience. After that, each guest made a speech based on their experience, their feelings until today and their thoughts for this stay in Japan. After listening to their speeches and the students’ comments, it came to our mind again that we have to learn what happened during the war and never forget it, also, we should think about what we can do for the future.

The lively interaction between the guests and the students continued, and when it was time to say goodbye, many of the guests were seen giving their contact information to the students to keep in touch. The program was closed with everybody saying “See you soon.”