From WEEKLY MDS No.910, November 4, 2005 issue logo

Visit to Yasukuni Shrine - Denial of Japan's Constitution, Stabbing at the Heart of Asia, and Promotion of Pro-war Mentality

Stabbing at Asian people and the Constitution of Japan

On October 17, Prime Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro again visited the Yasukuni war shrine against opposition at home and abroad. It was his fifth visit as prime minister.

Immediate protests came from the Council for Promotion of Compensation to the Victims of the Pacific War, Korea, denouncing his deed as "an attempt to justify the past war of aggression" and "hurt and humiliation to victims and bereaved families." Also in response to the visit, the People's Republic of China turned down the planned visit of Japan's Foreign Minister MACHIMURA Nobutaka to China. Koizumi has sent a letter of defiance to Asian people by visiting the war shrine when they are reconfirming their resolve this year, on the 60th anniversary of the end of the World War II, that they will never again tolerate aggression of Japan's militarism.

At the same time, this shrine visit is tantamount to a reckless violation of the Constitution of Japan, even daring to stomp on a judicial judgment. On September 30, the Osaka High Court ruled clearly against a prime ministerial visit to Yasukuni Shrine, concluding that it would constitute a violation of the Constitution since "the visit is paid as part of the prime minister's duties, and it is deemed to be a religious activity forbidden under the Constitution." Article 20 of the Constitution stipulates for stringent separation of politics and religion as part of efforts never again to resort to war. It states, "The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity." Within a month after this ruling, Koizumi went ahead with a visit to the shrine again in a candid breach of the Constitution and an act destroying the principle of separation of politics and religion.

The objective - mobilization for war

With knowledge of the opposition that would come from overseas and within Japan and an awareness of its unconstitutional nature, why did he dare to visit the shrine this time?

Because Koizumi's war-oriented politics would surely create more war dead. In order to secure the public's support for war, the war deaths would have to be hailed nationally as "those who dedicated their precious lives to the nation."

On October 18, the day after his visit to the shrine, the Lower House passed a bill at a floor meeting to re-extend the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, which aims to establish the presence of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force troops as a permanent deployment in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea that will continue to support aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, Koizumi still adheres to the policy of extending the period for troop dispatches to Iraq despite UK and Australian moves to withdraw their troops. Even in the case Ground SDF troops should be withdrawn, the Koizumi administration is considering continued deployment of Air SDF units for transportation of US troops and munitions. Koizumi's firm stance towards participating in the occupation forces is so obvious that we should not be surprised if we see "the war dead" among SDF troops at any time.

When giving cabinet approval to troop dispatches to Iraq, Koizumi said, "We should extend our respect and appreciation toward the SDF," and "Our national psyche is challenged." It is his tactic to make his annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in order to obtain national accord for state-sponsored commemoration of the war dead, that is, glorification of wars of aggression and strengthened civil involvement in war, brushing aside the protests of Asian neighbors.

The Liberal Democratic Party is now advocating the reactionary revision of Article 20 of the Constitution, besides Article 9, stipulating the principle of separation of politics and religion. The party aims to create a people "willing to fall into war" for the sake of the interests of global capitalists in the name of the national interests by removing restrictions on governmental officers' visits to the Yasukuni war shrine. Koizumi's prayer at the shrine is integral to the constitutional offense that is moving toward a total transformation of the Constitution to support war.

Spread Non-Defended Localities

The anger and struggles of Asian people are spreading. On October 19, the bereaved families of war victims in Japan, Korea and Taiwan decided to file a joint lawsuit against the Yasukuni Shrine and Prime Minister Koizumi. Not only Asians but also The New York Times denounces Koizumi, saying, "(the shrine visit is to) promote an unapologetic view of Japan's atrocity-scarred rampages through Korea, much of China and Southeast Asia." As Koizumi glorifies past aggressions, turning his back against a progressive course in history, there is no future waiting for his line of policies aimed at promoting war against all global citizens in the interests of global capitalists with his only allies being Bush and Blair.

Linking with the Non-Defended Localities movements developing across Japan, the campaign for the withdrawal of all occupation forces from Iraq and the movement to achieve post-war reparation and compensation, enhance protests against Koizumi's shrine visits. Block the buildup of a war-driven nation. (October 22)

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