Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to have a full schedule on his Amsterdam trip next week. The premier is visiting the country for a nuclear security summit followed by a Group of Seven gathering to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and a potential meeting with the president of South Korea. Despite this, Abe did not want to miss the chance of visiting the Anne Frank House, and has made it his first stop in the country.
Abe’s visit to the place where the Jewish girl hid during World War II follows a string of vandalism cases in various public libraries in Tokyo targeting Holocaust-related books. More than 300 books had pages torn or ripped out in 38 libraries and bookstores in Tokyo and Yokohama. As the diary by Anne Frank is widely read by both children and young adults, the damage has received attention both locally and internationally. A man was arrested by Tokyo police last week and was charged with ripping pages from around 25 books.
Abe’s visit will mark the first time a Japanese leader will go to the museum site. While the visit to the Anne Frank house was not in direct response to the vandalism, a Japanese foreign ministry official said that Abe’s visit hope to express that many Japanese were affected and hurt by what happened. “Humbly accepting historical facts and passing them on to future generations is one step towards realizing peace,” he said.