Shii: Prime minister's visit is inconsistent with his earlier statement

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo criticized Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's visit to Yasukuni Shrine at a news conference on October 17.

Referring to what the prime minister had stated in June in answer to Shii in the House of Representatives Budget Committee that Yasukuni Shrine's views differ from the government's, Shii said:

"Yasukuni Shrine's view is one of justifying Japan's war of aggression as a war for survival and self-defense and for liberating Asia. If the government's view on the war is different from that of Yasukuni, the prime minister should stop visiting the shrine. Contrary to this logic, the prime minister continues to visit the shrine. How can he be qualified to be prime minister? How can he perform his responsibilities as prime minister?"

Shii went on to say: "It is unjustifiable for the prime minister to put his personal belief before Japan's diplomatic interests in the 60th year since the end of WW II. His behavior will make Japan's diplomatic stalemate even more serious." The JCP will demand that the prime minister be held responsible for this failure.

In answering reporters' questions,Shii said: "The prime minister's action may have been driven by his arrogance, making him believe that he can use the force of numbers backed by an overwhelming majority that his party won in the House of Representatives in the general election. During the election campaign, the JCP said that breaking the diplomatic stalemate is a major issue and that the prime minister should give up on Yasukuni Shrine visits. The prime minister in the election campaign only said that he will 'appropriately decide on it.' We must not allow him to behave as he likes capitalizing on the election result."

Noting that Koizumi's recent Yasukuni visit came shortly after the Osaka High Court judgment that the prime minister's Yasukuni visits are unconstitutional, Shii said, "The prime minister is doubly to blame for intentionally ignoring the ruling and visiting the shrine in violation of the Constitution."

Pointing out that the prime minister expressed remorse for Japan's aggression and colonization at an international conference, Shii said, "The latest visit contradicts what he stated before the international community." He warned that severe criticism will inevitably spread among Asian countries.

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JCP Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo in a speech at the Japan National Press Club on the same day commented on the prime minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine in the context of Japan lacking a coherent strategy toward Asian countries. Fuwa said, "This makes me feel something is precarious in Japan's future diplomacy."

Asked if the prime minister's visit would be acceptable if Yasukuni Shrine had not enshrined Class-A war criminals, Fuwa said, "Yasukuni Shrine is peculiar in that it exists to advocate the view that Japan's war of aggression in the past was a just war for Japan's survival and self-defense as well as for liberating Asia. Even if Class-A war criminals were not enshrined, a person responsible for government should not choose Yasukuni Shrine to mourn for the war dead."

-- Akahata, October 18, 2005

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