Koizumi's war shrine visit draws harsh criticism[Special Report]
www.chinaview.cn 2006-08-16 07:31:23

Special Report: Koizumi's war shrine visit draws harsh criticism

Related: Koizumi visits Yasukuni Shrine

    BEIJING, Aug 15 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday paid a visit to a notorious Tokyo war shrine which honors Japan's World War II criminals, arousing sharp criticism from home and abroad.

    It is his sixth visit to the Yasukuni Shrine since taking office in 2001, and its impact was heightened by its timing on Aug 15, Japan's World War II surrender day.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, ignoring criticism from both home and abroad, visits the Yasukuni Shrine which honors Japan's 14 notorious class-A war criminals of World War II, in Tokyo, capital of Japan, Aug.15, 2006.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, ignoring criticism from both home and abroad, visits the Yasukuni Shrine which honors Japan's 14 notorious class-A war criminals of World War II, in Tokyo, capital of Japan, Aug.15, 2006.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    The visit met immediately sharp criticism from some Asian countries, which endured great pain of Japan's aggression during the war.

    China, the biggest victim of the aggression, strongly protested against the visit, saying it severely harms the sentiment of the peoples victimized by Japanese militarists' aggression, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

    The Yasukuni Shrine, established in 1869 under Emperor Meiji, honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead including 14 class-A war criminals responsible for some of the most atrocious crimes during Japan's war of aggression against its Asian neighbors during World War II.

    The visit "damages the political basis of Sino-Japanese relations," the statement added.

    Li Zhaoxing, Chinese Foreign Minister, also summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Miyamoto Yuji to register strong protests.

Li Zhaoxing, Chinese Foreign Minister, also summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Miyamoto Yuji to register strong protests.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (1st R) talks with Japanese Ambassador to China Miyamoto Yuji in Beijing, China, on Aug. 15, 2006. Li Zhaoxing lodged serious and solemn representations, and strong protests against Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's sixth visit to the war criminals-honoring Yasukuni Shrine.Xinhua Photo)
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    "China strongly requests Japanese leaders to make efforts to remove political barriers and push the Sino-Japanese ties back to the normal development track at an early date," he said.

    South Korea, which celebrated the anniversary of its liberation from Japan's rule on Tuesday, was similarly harsh.

    President Roh Moo-hyun said Japan had far to go before it could change its pacifist constitution and that South Korea would press ahead with strengthening its own military.

    A group of former South Korean commandos gathered in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, where some demonstrators decapitated an effigy of Koizumi and burnt a picture of the Yasukuni shrine.

ROK's Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan (R) talks with Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Shotaro Oshima during their meeting in Seoul August 15, 2006.

ROK's Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan (R) talks with Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Shotaro Oshima during their meeting in Seoul August 15, 2006. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
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    Ties between South Korea and Japan have become increasingly chilly. Last year, Roh declared "diplomatic war" against Tokyo in a dispute over a group of desolate islands claimed by the two neighbors, as well as over the Japanese leader's visits to the Tokyo shrine.

    In Japan, Koizumi's shrine visit also drew protests from opposition and coalition parties, statesmen, civil groups as well as peace loving people.

    Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said, "The visit was an absurd act which could not be more irresponsible."

    Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said Koizumi's visit to the Shrine was hard to understand from abroad, while Takenori Kanzaki, leader of the New Komeito party, the coalition partner of Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, expressed his regret over the visit.

    Indonesia and Singapore, also victims of Japanese militarism during WW II, criticized the visit in similar words, saying that Koizumi's move hampered closer relationships among East Asian countries.

    Russia warned Tokyo, saying that Japan should be careful about visits by its top officials to the Yasukuni Shrine.

    "We believe that visits to this shrine and military history are extremely delicate subjects related to World War II, whose consequences remain vivid," said Andrei Krivtsov, deputy director of the information department of Russia's Foreign Ministry. Enditem

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Editor: Mu Xuequan
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