Members of Japanese peace groups
hold a protest against the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Jan. 1, in front of Koizumi's official residence
in Tokyo Jan. 2, 2004. (Xinhua Photo)
Koizumi's visit to shrine criticized
Beijing, Jan. 2, (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi sparked anger Tuesday with another visit to the
controversial Yasukuni shrine, which honours 14 of the country's notorious war
criminals, among the nation's 2.47 million war dead.
Huang Xingyuan, a spokesman at the Chinese Embassy to
Tokyo, expressed strong dissatisfaction over Koizumi's visit, his fourth since
he became prime minister in 2001.
Huang urged the Japanese Government to completely
abide by the three key bilateral agreements and statements and to stop further
activities which will harm the feelings of the Chinese people and damage
Class-A World War II criminals, 14 of whom who played
a role in Japan's brutal war of aggression against China from 1937 to 1945, are
honoured at the shrine.
Koizumi's previous visits to the shrine drew strong
protests from Asian countries that had suffered from Japanese military
The visit also came under fire in Japan from the
nation's opposition parties.
"It was an act that emphasizes a personal belief and
will damage the national interest. This is irresponsible behavior toward the
people," Kyodo News quoted Naoto Kan, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan,
the nation's largest opposition party, as saying.
Tadayoshi Ichida, head of the secretariat of the
Japanese Communist Party, said: "Going to worship at Yasukuni Shrine, which is a
symbol of a war of aggression and the promotion of militarism, is definitely
"For other Asian countries, it means Japan is
continuing not to reflect on its past and criticism will be inevitable," Kyodo
quoted Ichida as saying.
Seiji Mataichi, secretary-general of the Social
Democratic Party, said: "I must say it was inappropriate behaviour which fails
to see the truth about the invasions," according to Kyodo.
He said that as Japan is seeking co-operation from
China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in solving the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear issue, such behaviour would worsen relations
with both countries and was "incomprehensible."
China, the DPRK, the ROK, the United States, Russia
and Japan held six-party talks in August in Beijing, seeking peaceful solutions
to the DPRK's nuclear programme. The DPRK recently expressed its willingness to
attend a second round of nuclear talks early this year.
The DPRK has slammed Koizumi's previous visits to the
shrine. Following his visit in January last year, the DPRK said Koizumi's
behavior was against the spirit of the DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration and that
relations between the two states can never be normalized unless Japan's previous
wrongdoings are addressed. Enditem