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No More Beautification of Japanese Attacks

Posted January. 02, 2004 23:10,   


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid an unexpected visit to Yasukuni Shrine on January 1, where A-level Japanese war criminals during Word War II were enshrined. This is Koizumi’s fourth visit since his inauguration in April 2001. Creating a stir, South Korea and China immediately expressed an intensive request to Koizumi for halt the visit to the shrine.

In particular, the Chinese government that had been acting as a key mediator in the six-way talks on the North’s nuclear issue protested strongly against the Japanese Prime Minister’s imprudent action, which may have some influences on the future multinational talks.

In his traditional Japanese costume, Koizumi worshiped at the Yasukuni Shrine in the morning and signed the guest book as Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, clearly stating that it was an official visit in the name of the Japanese prime minister.

After the ritual, he said, “The peace and prosperity of Japan is based on not only the sacrifices of living people but also those of the dedicated who lost their life in wars. With every thought in my mind, I made a visit to the shrine.”

Koizumi also added that he will continue to visit the Yasukuni Shrine once every year from 2005, although no more visits planned for this year.

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yoon Young-kwan called in Toshiyuki Takano, the Japanese Ambassador to Seoul on January 2 and told our strong hope that Japanese Prime Minister would not visit the shrine for the sake of a good relationship between two countries.

The government previously expressed deep regret by issuing a statement on January 1 under the name of the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Shin Bong-gil, firmly requesting that Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi would not visit the Yasukuni Shrine any more in the future.

This marked the first time that Korean Government officially protested against the Japanese prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, by using straightforward expressions.

The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi also called in the acting Japanese ambassador to China and expressed his “strong indignation.”

“Prime Minister Koizumi’s repetitive visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where memorials of A-level Japanese criminals were laid down, is a violation of Japan’s declared reflections on its attacks to other countries, and will eventually harm the political base of friendly relations between China and Japan,” Wang said. “The Chinese people will not accept any betraying act.”