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   Home-Specials-60th Anniversary of War Against Japanese Aggression-Opinions
Speaker urges Koizumi to shun shrine
Latest Updated by 2005-06-08 10:25:42

TOKYO: Japan's House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono yesterday indirectly urged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to stop visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Kyodo News reported.

In a meeting with Koizumi on bettering bilateral ties between Japan and China, Kono was quoted as telling Koizumi to "decide whether to visit the shrine with utmost caution."

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday that the Japanese leader should respect the "different opinions" in Japan on visits to the shrine.

Liu also hit back at Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura who had labelled criticism of the shrine visits "absurd."

The visits "to this place (Yasukuni Shrine) are a clear denial of Japan's history of militarism and aggression," said Liu at a regular press briefing. "To be unable to face history and try to cover it up will only make it more conspicuous," Liu said.

Last Wednesday, Kono organized a meeting with five former prime ministers of Japan who share his views of the Yasukuni issue to discuss the effects of Koizumi's shrine visits on Japan's relations with China and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The former leaders agreed to urge Koizumi to stop his visits to the shrine.

One of the attendants, Yoshiro Mori - Koizumi's predecessor and his senior in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party - joined Kono in conveying this message to the prime minister.

Koizumi's annual visits to the notorious shrine have sparked a flurry of condemnation and protests from China and the ROK because the shrine honours 14 Class-A war criminals. Koizumi has visited the shrine once a year since taking office in April 2001, and indicated on May 16 he would visit it again this year.

He last visited the shrine on January 1, 2004.

Koizumi has recently faced calls from within his own ruling party to halt the visits.

Some lawmakers have suggested removing from the shrine's list of dead the names of the more high-profile war criminals. But shrine officials recently rejected the idea.

Editor: Yan

 
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By: Source:China Daily Website
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