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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 15:06, June 08, 2005
Yasukuni Shrine refuses to move out war criminal tablets
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Japanese religious corporate body Yasukuni Shrine on June 4 published a statement to the effect that the tablets of 14 class-A war criminals sentenced to death by the Fareast International Military Tribunal after WWII would not be moved out of the Yasukuni Shrine, claiming that this decision was taken because there still exists controversy on the charges given by the Fareast International Military Tribunal to these war criminals.

Sheer nonsense
Yasukuni Shrine issued the aforementioned statement while responding to the questionnaire conducted by Japan's Kyodo News Service. The statement says, "This is a matter concerning Japan's religious belief��. The thing about separate worshipping of the 14 class-A war criminals will never happen."

The statement sums up the reasons for refusing to remove the tablets of war criminals as: Some scholars on international law have posed "continuous challenges to" the legality of the verdict reached by the Fareast International Military Tribunal after WWII. The statement says that the Japanese Diet in 1953 unanimously passed a resolution, denying the existence in Japan of "war criminals" associated with WWII.

The statement continues that the Japanese government, between 1953 and 1955, revised some laws on consoling the WWII bereaved families, from that time on the government has given equal treatment to war criminals and the ordinary war dead. The statement especially mentions Kishi Nobusuke, saying that he was once determined as a class-A war criminal, but later he acted as Japanese Prime Minister. The statement claims, "In the past Japan simply denied there were war criminals among the Japanese."

Absurd argument
The expressed attitude of Yasukuni Shrine and the fallacious statement have aroused extensive concern from international media. As regards the "matter about religious belief" as asserted by Yasukuni Shrine, the Associated Press (AP) pointed out in its report that the Shintoism worshipped by Yasukuni Shrine was a tool of militarism preached by the Japanese government during WWII. AP also stressed that Yasukuni Shrine is enshrined with 14 war criminals sentenced by the Fareast International Military Court for guilty of war, but Yasukuni Shrine does not accept these court decisions.

As a matter of fact, Yasukuni Shrine is not the first instance of making wild talks about the adjudication of the Fareast military court. Morioka Masahiro, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, delivered on May 26 an absurd speech at the Diet members conference of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), claiming that "class-A war criminals are no longer offenders in Japan", and that the Fareast International Military Tribunal "arbitrarily made the unilateral judgment under the anti-peace and anti-humanity charges". Morioka's fallacy immediately assailed by Japan's domestic farsighted personages and by the international community.

Separate worship?
A report of the Kyodo News Service says, considering the fact that Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi's incessant visits to the Yasukuni Shrine since his assumption of office have led to Japan's tense relations with China, the Republic of Korea and other neighboring countries, some Diet members within the ruling LDP have proposed moving the tablets of 14 class-A war criminals out of Yasukuni Shrine.

On May 29, Yosano Kaoru, president of the LDP political fact-finding committee, indicated in a TV Asahi special program that moving class-A war criminals from Yasukuni Shrine and "worshipping" them separately can be regarded as a formula for solving the problem regarding visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Nakagawa Hidenao, president of the LDP Diet countermeasure commission, also voiced similar views in a Fuji TV program, consultations should be conducted between Yasukuni Shrine and the bereaved families of the war dead, and "spontaneously giving separate "worship" to the class-A war criminals and ordinary war dead.

On June 3, former Japanese PM Nakasone Yasuhiro seen as representative of the conservatives said that the best way is to move the tablets of war criminals out of Yasukuni Shrine, before this arrangement is completed, Koizumi should stop his visit to the shrine. However, Oyama Shingo, who is in charge of public relations in Yasukuni Shrine, said on June 4 that although the government and the LDP have offered their proposal on "separate worship", the shrine has so far received no application for "separate worship".

By People's Daily Online

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