Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo criticized the government's attitude toward the Yasukuni question on an Asahi Newstar TV's interview program aired on January 31. The following is the gist of his remarks:
Q: Foreign Minister Aso Taro said that a visit by the emperor to Yasukuni Shrine would be wonderful.
Shii: This is a very grave statement urging the emperor to visit Yasukuni Shrine. The emperor's visits have long been called for by pro-Yasukuni forces that completely accept and try to propagate Yasukuni Shrine's view of history and justification of Japan's war.
The Association to Honor the Spirit of War Dead in its publicity video shown at Yasukuni Shrine's war museum Yushukan states: "The spirit of the war dead will be quieted and the feelings of the bereaved families nationwide will be set at ease if the prime minister and all cabinet members, the chiefs of the three branches of government, and the emperor all visit Yasukuni Shrine."
This is a plan to develop the prime minister's solo Yasukuni visit into a joint event with all cabinet ministers attending, and even into a grand national event with the emperor participating. These steps will help promote Yasukuni Shrine's view of history justifying Japan's war of aggression to the point that it will be publicly recognized as a national outlook. Foreign Minister Aso's statement amplifies these ambitions of the pro-Yasukuni forces.
Q: Recently, concerns have been expressed even by some U.S. Bush administration officials.
Shii: I used my interpellation time on behalf of the JCP in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 24, and I cited President Bush's remarks and the House of Representatives International Relations committee chair Henry Hyde's letter to ask the prime minister to comment on their criticisms of his Yasukuni visits. The prime minister said, "I know there are different opinions in the United States. But I have never been told by President Bush to stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine. I think he understands my visits."
Mainichi of January 30 carried a feature article entitled "U.S. pays close attention to 'Yushukan,'" giving an in-depth analysis of the Yasukuni question. Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly for East Asia Affairs, and Paul Giarra, former Japan Desk chief of the U.S. Department of Defense, declared the issue of the war museum as unacceptable. Prime Minister Koizumi insists that criticism comes only from China and South Korea. This remark of his has aroused strong criticism. But the problem does not stop there. The issue has developed into one concerning the United States and the world as a whole.
- Akahata, February 2, 2006