Japanese Politicians Discuss Separate Enshrinement of Class-A War Criminals
Friday, May 19, 2006 Posted: 06:31 PM JST
"Separating a portion of the spirits of the war dead from the shrine will be a matter to be discussed," chairman of the Japan War-Bereaved Association Makoto Koga announced yesterday according to the Japanese language Asahi Shimbun. Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine where Class-A war criminals are enshrined with the souls of Japan's war dead has created a lot of friction between Japan and its neighbors. Recently the US also joined the discussion when Republican congressman Henry Hyde sought assurances that Koizumi will not visit Yasukuni.
Chairman Koga, a former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General appears to have the upcoming LDP presidential election in mind, which is set for September. The LDP must find a successor to Koizumi who is stepping down.
Prime Minister Koizumi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe, and some other politicians are insisting that Yasukuni should not be made a major issue in the presidential campaign. By floating a proposal for separate enshrinement of Class-A war criminals, Koga has unwittingly made history a campaign issue.
"Koga came up with a set of policy proposals," Asahi Shimbun reported, "at a policy study meeting of the LDP's Niwa-Koga faction led by Koga and lawmaker Yuya Niwa. The faction agreed to use Koga's proposals as a basis for policy proposals the faction will work out in the weeks ahead."
Koga describes Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine as "something that has soured relations with China and raised the sense of impasse now felt from Japanese diplomacy."
Separating a portion of the spirits, "many more people," says Koga, "including foreigners, will be able to visit the shrine to offer condolences to the spirits of the war dead."
Yasukuni Shrine has asserted that separate enshrinement is impossible because souls are like water. Just like you can't 'unmix' water that has been mixed with other water, you can't 'unmix' souls.
"But in the LDP," writes Asahi Shimbun, "momentum is rising to somehow settle the question of enshrinement of Class-A war criminals in order to rebuild relations with China."
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