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|Monday, June 05, 2000, updated at 10:12(GMT+8)|
Japanese Opposition Rapping PM's New Controversial RemarkJapanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori was denounced by opposition again on Sunday for another controversial remark involving the Japanese emperor, in which he used "kokutai", a term referring to the national polity centering on the emperor before and during World War II.
Opposition party officials taking part in Sunday's live television debate programs said, when campaigning for the June 25 parliamentary election, they will take up the matter together with Mori's May 15 remark that Japan is a "divine nation" with the emperor at its center.
"It is nothing but the thought of state Shintoism," Hirohisa Fujii, secretary general of the Liberal Party (LP), said during one of the TV shows. Shinto was the state religion in Japan before and during World War II, deifying the emperor as a living god.
"He (Mori) has made remarks that may be interpreted as denying the Japanese Constitution or the modern universal principle that sovereignty resides in the people. I think he is not fit to be prime minister," LP leader Ichiro Ozawa told reporters in Morioka, northeastern Japan.
Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Tsutomu Hata said, "It has the same context as the 'divine nation' remark, the same idea of the emperor's sovereignty and hope to retain the 'kokutai'."
Top officials of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) also lashed out at Mori's remark. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) showed displeasure at their leader's remark.
"I hope he will be careful enough not to make remarks (after) which he will have to explain what he really meant," said LDP secretary general Hiromu Nonaka.
Mori made the mistake Saturday when criticizing JCP for its disapproval of Japan's imperial system and the Self-Defense Forces in a speech in Nara, ancient capital in southwestern Japan. He said, "How could we possibly secure Japan's 'kokutai' (national polity) and ensure public safety with such a party?"
"Kokutai" was commonly used to refer to the Japanese polity before and during World War II. It means rule by an unbroken imperial line and the concept of the state as a family, which defines the relationship between the emperor and his subjects as that between father and children.
Japan's defeat in World War II and the reforms afterwards have brought an end to "kokutai".
Earlier on May 15, Mori said Japan is a divine nation with the emperor at its center. His remark drew wide criticism as it echoed the ideology behind Japan's wartime militarism.
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