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Koizumi Plans Another Yasukuni Visit

Posted May. 09, 2006 04:18,   


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi may visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine honoring war-time criminals on August 15, the anniversary of the end of the Second World War, reported the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on May 8.

Aides to the prime minister said that he is willing to visit the shrine on August 15 because this year marks his last in office.

Koizumi has paid a visit to the shrine annually since taking office in April 2001, but he has never been there on the anniversary. He pledged regular trips to the shrine on August 15 while running for presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Some close to him even said that Koizumi regretted having paid a visit on August 13, two days earlier than what he promised, in 2001, his first year in office.

Korea and China are expected to protest ever more strongly if the prime minister goes ahead with his plan given the symbolic meaning of August 15 as the anniversary of the end of World WarⅡ.

That is highly likely to fuel the debate over foreign diplomacy among the Japanese, and the Japanese government is well aware of its possible consequences. Thus, it is expected to finalize its decision after taking into consideration the impact of the visit on Korea-Japan and Sino-Japan relations and on the September LDP presidential election.

Kwang-Am Cheon iam@donga.com