Sunday, October 16, 2005


Koizumi to visit Yasukuni on Monday

Other Asian neighbors ?

Koizumi to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Mon. morning: aides

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit the war-related Yasukuni Shrine on Monday morning, his aides said.
His repeated visits to the Shinto shrine, which enshrines Class-A war criminals along with the Japanese war dead, have strained Japan's relations with China, South Korea and other Asian neighbors.
One of a recent series of high court rulings said his Yasukuni visits violate the constitutional separation of religion and state.
It would be Koizumi's fifth visit to the Shinto shrine in central Tokyo since taking office in April 2001.
He has visited the shrine every year since taking office, but has not done so this year.

Japan's Koizumi to visit war shrine on Monday: spokesman

TOKYO, (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to make a controversial visit to the Yasukuni war shrine on Monday, a spokesman said.

"The prime minister is going to make a visit shortly after 10:00 am (0100 GMT)," Yu Kameoka, a Koizumi spokesman, told AFP.

Kameoka declined to comment on what kind of reaction Tokyo expected from Asian neighbors China and South Korea, which Japan occupied in the first half of the 20th century and see the shrine as a symbol of Japan's militarism.

Since taking office in 2001, Koizumi has kept his pledge to pray annually at Yasukuni, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead including 14 top convicted war criminals.

The Osaka High Court ruled on September 30 that his visits to Yasukuni were unconstitutional as they defied the separation of politics and religion.

Koizumi disagreed with the ruling, saying he was not making his pilgrimages as part of the prime minister's official duties but to express his personal grief over people killed in war.

The prime minister is riding high after scoring a runaway victory in the September general elections, which spawned calls for him to stay in power beyond the self-imposed limit of September 2006.

Koizumi has said there is no change in his plan to step down in September 2006 when his term as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party expires.

But an opinion poll published by Jiji Press showed nearly 55 percent supported an extension of his term.

Jiji carried out the poll from October 7 to October 10, covering 2,000 eligible voters.

Japan's Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Friday he plans to visit China soon in an effort to improve relations, which have soured in part over Koizumi's Yasukuni visits.

It's an interference in the domestic affairs of another nation, isn't it?

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