TOKYO, Feb. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi defended on Wednesday once again his repeated visits to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, claiming that Japan had not been isolated among Asian countries because of his deeds.
Koizumi, on addressing a House of Councilors Budget Committee session later in the day, shrugged off the comments criticizing him for misjudging the international situation by saying only China and South Korea chide his shrine visits.
He realleged that the visit is "a spiritual issue".
In response to a Social Democratic Party lawmaker's criticism, which warned him against turning his "spiritual issue" into serious international problems in a irresponsible manner, Koizumi said he himself is also a human being and his "spirit" is free.
Since taking office in 2001, Koizumi has visited for five consecutive years the Yasukuni Shrine which honors 14 Class-A Japanese war criminals, in defiance of strong protests from China and other Asian countries. Enditem