OSAKA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shine last December violated Japan's constitutional separation of state and religion and should not be made again, Kazuo Okawa, lawyer of the Okawa Law Firm in Osaka, said Wednesday.
A number of 546 plaintiffs composed of family members of war victims and citizens filed a lawsuit on April 11 to the Osaka District Court claiming that Abe's visit to the shrine violated the citizen's constitutional rights to live in peace, and urged Abe to stop making such visits.
The litigant team was composed of 13 experienced lawyers, which includes Kazuo Okawa.
Okawa said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Wednesday that the fact that Abe made the visit to the Shinto Shrine on Dec. 26, 2013, the day marking his first anniversary of resuming office, indicated that he only considered himself.
Okawa pointed out that if Abe's unconstitutional behaviors were ignored, then similar motions might be continued.
This was the third similar litigation that was filed by citizens to the Osaka District Court suing Japanese prime ministers' visit to Yasukuni Shrine.
According to Okawa, the first suit was filed against former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1985 and the second was filed against former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2003. Although the plaintiffs eventually lost the two suits, the lawsuit was still worthwhile because the local court and the Supreme Court ruled that the visit to the shrine by Koizumi was unconstitutional.
"Only the critics from citizens can correct the wrongdoings of politicians," said Okawa, adding that one of the purposes of the present lawsuit was to arouse the awareness among Japanese citizens of Abe's unconstitutional behaviors, and make them vote correctly in elections in the future.
According to Okawa, another group of about 270 people will file a similar suit against Abe with the Tokyo District Court on April 21.
Referring to the strong opposition to Japanese prime ministers' visits to Yasukuni Shrine from countries like China and South Korea which were invaded by Japan before and during World War II, Okawa said it is natural for these countries to oppose such visits as they "may recreate a prewar atmosphere in Japan."
To maintain good relations with neighboring countries is very important to Japan, and Japanese politicians should think carefully about why the visits to Yasukuni Shrine by the state leaders are strongly opposed by China and South Korea, Okawa pointed out.
Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo was a symbol of Japan's wartime militarism as 14 Class-A war criminals were enshrined there, who were convicted by an Allied tribunal after the war.