Yasukuni Shrine visit predicted later this month

Japanese daily Sankei Shinbun, citing a source from the foreign ministry, reports that Prime Minister Koizumi might visit the Yasukuni Shrine sometime between mid-October and early Novemeber. However, any visit would be timed to avoid coinciding with official visits to Toyko by U.S. President Bush and Korean President Roh Moo-hyun as well as the APEC Summit meeting later this year.

Koizumi made his last visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in January 2004. Last month, the Osaka High Court ruled that any visit to the shrine by the Prime Minister made in a public capacity would be unconstitutional, citing Article 20 of the Constitution which prohibits the state from engaging in religious activity. However, the court also ruled that Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits were private.

The Discussion: 16 Comments

Well it had to come sometime.

That court ruling was a joke. Kozumi always said he made the visits as a private citizen not as PM. The Osaka Court simply ruled that if visited as PM, that would be illegal but he could visit as a private citizen. WTF?

Even most Japanese people don not agree with the visits so why does he keep goign there? I am not taking the Korean and Chinese view here, I am really wondering what motivates him to keep doing it knowing all the trouble it causes?

October 9, 2005 @ 6:18 am | Comment

Actually, Koizumi said he went as a private citizen AND prime minister. I can only say: sigh

October 9, 2005 @ 8:53 am | Comment

That’s what I’m thinking. I mean, how can Koizumi attend the shrine as a private citizen – when he’s the Prime Minister of Japan?!

I think the Osaka Court judged his visits to be as a private citizen because the money he gave came out of his own pocket.

My point here has nothing to do with the validity of his visits, i.e. whether he’s right or wrong…but can the Prime Minister of any country do ‘anything’ in a private capacity?

October 9, 2005 @ 10:36 am | Comment

Belief, all about belief…don’t we often respect someone who has a belief instead of none in this world?

October 9, 2005 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

What to do? I don’t know. At least the blogs have new things to write when Sino-Japan ties reach a new low point. I worry about that. I have no creative idea how this impasse can be realistically broken. With all the political mess, I hope Chinese and Japanese people can friendly interact with each. I truly wish better relations, at the same time I understand those who are upset about this all.

October 9, 2005 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

Ask Clinton if he believes that the leader of a country can do ‘anything’ in a private capacity…

October 9, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

Any official Chinese protest would be an infringement on Japan’s sovereignty, right?
After all, if they can kill and beat people here and claim that “sovereignty overrides human rights,” and then lie about it all in history textbooks, how could they possibly have anything to say at all about Koizumi’s visit?

October 9, 2005 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

That’s my point exactly Keir. I’m not saying I agree with or oppose his visits but the PM serves in the highest public office in the country – nothing he does is private for as long as he is the legal and sworn PM.

I am genuinely puzzled as to motivation behind the visits, after all, the last poll I saw said that only 37% of Japanese support the visits but over 50% oppose.

Oh well, he might just presonally feel very strongly on the issue I suppose. Also, it doesn’t seem to have effected support for his LDP. He won the recent election be a landslide.

October 10, 2005 @ 1:28 am | Comment

It will be very intersesting to see what happens when his self-imposed final term ends and his successor takes over, one widely believed to be striving for less dependence on the US and more in favour of reaching accomodation with the Chinese.
I must say that I myself had family who suffered while fighting the Japanese in the last war and I am not amused by Japanese attempts to glorify or sugarcoat their barbarism 60 years ago; I don’t want Chinese contributors to feel that they are lonely campaigners for justice and recognisation.

October 10, 2005 @ 2:21 am | Comment

Well said Kier.

The only difference is that the West does not use and abuse the Second World War for its own narrow current domestic purposes. China does. To the CCP (and imperial dynasties throughout history) ‘history is a tool to serve the present’ – truth goes out of the window if a lie can achieve current political goals.

‘Little Japan’ is nationalist tool to be turned on and off when needed for the CCP – it has little to do with history and more to do with the present.

October 10, 2005 @ 2:26 am | Comment

Before you judge him, you should know that Primeminister Koizumi’s cousin is interned in the shrine, so he has a very valid reason for going there as a private citizen.

I certainly can’t imagine Hu not going to a cemetery that contained war criminals from the civil war just because Taiwan complained.

October 10, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Thanks ACB, I was interested in his personal motivations. I certainly did not know that members of his family were interned there. I still maintain that both he and Japan can, of course, mourn and pay respects as they see fit but with the trouble it causes and the majority of Japanese who don’t support the visits, I was intrigued as to why he keeps up with the visits.

October 10, 2005 @ 10:30 am | Comment

Originally there was no class I war criminals, but you guys moved them in. Any excuse?

(I decide to not to mention thousands of other war criminals this time.)

Actually I don’t understand you, Japanese people. It was the class I war criminal group who pushed the whole Japan into the War. They should be responsible for the suffer and loss of not only Chinese, Korean, American people…….but also millions of Japanese people yourselves.

This comes to the ultimate question: who you think should be responsible for the tragedy of the War? Not them? Then who? If them, why do you guys allow enshrining these people with your relatively innocent dead grandpa and father generations?

If I were you, I would treat them as my enemies, and I would think enshrining them with my ancestors together is a humiliation to them.

I am very confused. I tell you that’s why Chinese people tend to link your behaviors to the support of class I war criminals. Is there anything more confusing than to start enshrining someone like Hitler after 30, 40 years of end of WWII?

Actually I have read some theory from Japanese people. I know there is a main point from you guys: basically nobody was wrong, they were victims too. If anything wrong at that time, it is the environment or atmosphere was wrong. However some other fact tells me you Japanese people are usually not very tolerable and benign to the crime. Japan still has death penalty as far as I know which makes Japan the only developed country except USA which still keeps the death sentence although you guys have much lower crime rate than that of USA. We Chinese also know Japanese are very polite, dedicated, hardworking, organization oriented people. Any way, I would like to learn more opinions from Japan, because Japan is such a complex which I can hardly gasp the essence of your culture.

So welcome your new comments, ACB!

October 10, 2005 @ 3:40 pm | Comment

While its true that the CCP does from time to time use this issue as a political football, as Keir points out, many Chinese were hurt by Japan’s actions during the war, either directly or indirectly and still hold a deep-seated grudge against Japan that has nothing to do with the CCP’s attempt to drum up nationalism, but is REAL nationalism.

October 10, 2005 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

I was reading today about Yukio Mishima; had never heard of him before. He angered all sides apparently, especially in his view that the emperor (who he swore loyalty just before killing himself)should have abdicated out of responsibility for leading his country to ruin in the war. Well, someone’s responsible, and the buck should have stopped at the top.

October 11, 2005 @ 4:19 am | Comment

Did anyone else catch the recent issue of the Economist, with the feature on Japan? It had a little box on the shrine. I’ve tended to be pretty unsympathetic to the shrill Chinese outrage over the issue … as much as anything, because the tone of it is just so unreasoning that it instantly turns me against them, and wins support for the Japanese position.

But … I’m having second thoughts, because of an aspect of the shrine I was previously unaware of … the museum that’s attached to it. Visit the museum, and you’ll learn (according to the Economist) about the wonderful wars of liberation that Japan waged for the sake of Asia. *cough*

I think that the problem may be that the Chinese have such a knee-jerk anti-Japanese reaction that it causes them to respond emotionally, even when they have a good case that would be better made rationally. Oh, and the fact that there don’t seem to be many Chinese government officials who know how to speak in diplomatic language … not since the passing of Zhou Enlai anyway, with the exception of the Chinese ambassador to Australia, who is one smooth lady.

October 12, 2005 @ 10:08 am | Comment

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