Japan's Prefectural Governor Urges Koizumi to Cancel Yasukuni Shrine Visit

Yoshihiro Katayama, governor of Japan's Tottori Prefecture, on Monday called on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to cancel his planned visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, Japan's Kyodo news services reported.

"It must be recognized what kind of effect (the visit) will have on neighboring countries," Katayama was quoted as saying.

"If he visits the shrine only with the explanation he has made so far, Japan's credibility in the eyes of neighboring states will be severely damaged, and its national interests will suffer in turn," he noted.

"Japan needs to send a message that it will not repeat the past folly," the governor said.

"In this sense, Prime Minister Koizumi has seen only one dimension of the matter. I hope he will give it careful thought," he added.

Koizumi has so far only said he will try to mend ties after making the visit.

The Yasukuni shrine, a bastion of the wartime government- sponsored Shintoism and symbol of militarism in Japan before and during World War II, houses 2.5 million war dead as well as the memorial tablets of 14 class-A war criminals, including wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.

Koizumi's pledge to visit Yasukuni has drew strong protest and criticism from its Asian neighbors and peace-loving groups.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/