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   Home-Specials-60th Anniversary of War Against Japanese Aggression-Sino-Japan Relationship
Japanese court rules PM's shrine visit unconstitutional
Latest Updated by 2005-09-30 14:53:02

The Osaka High Court on Friday ruled that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine was unconstitutional.

The ruling said Koizumi visited the war criminal-related shrine in an official capacity.

Koizumi paid annual visit to the shrine over the past four years. He has not yet made clear when or whether he would visit the facility this year.

The Yasukuni Shrine enshrines 14 Class-A World War II war criminals along with Japanese war dead. His pilgrimage is the mainstumbling block to a smooth development of relations with its Asian neighbors, especially China and South Korea.

The high court overrode a ruling made by the Osaka District Court last May which did not say whether the visits had violated Japan constitution.

The supreme code forbids government officials engaging in religious activities in their official capacities.

The high court made the ruling based on the facts that Koizumi used governmental vehicles and signed as prime minister in the visitor's book during his three visits from 2001 to 2003.

However, the court dismissed damages demand made by the plaintiffs.

About 180 plaintiffs filed the suit with the high court, more than half coming from China's Taiwan Province which was under Japan's colonial rule for about 50 years until Japan's surrender in 1945.

Besides Friday's ruling, the Fukuoka District Court judged in April 2004 that Koizumi's practice was unconstitutional.

Editor: Yan

 
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