As Controversy Continues Over Shinto War Shrine, PM Rules Out Replacement

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AFP

On June 17, 2005 Agence France-Presse reported, “Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has ruled out suggestions that another memorial to war dead could replace Yasukuni shrine, whose association with militarism outrages neighboring countries.

‘I think it is OK to consider building a new facility, where people can mourn without feeling uneasy. But Yasukuni shrine cannot be replaced by any other facility,’ Koizumi told reporters.

China and the two Koreas, which suffered bloody occupations by Japan up to 1945, have been infuriated by Koizumi’s insistence on visiting the Yasukuni shrine which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead including 14 top war criminals.

A private panel to then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda proposed in 2002 to create a new, non-religious memorial to war dead that could skirt the controversy over the Shinto sanctuary.

The idea has resurfaced amid heated disputes with neighboring countries over the war shrine. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi last month abruptly cancelled a meeting with Koizumi to protest Japanese officials’ defense of visits to Yasukuni.”