Shii questions new prime minister's views on Japan's war

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo took the floor in the House of Representatives Plenary Session on May 10 to question (among other things) the new prime minister's outlook on history.

On Japan's war of aggression

Shii pointed out the failure of successive governments to clearly criticize its wars of aggression. This, he said, is in sharp contrast to Germany which thoroughly reflected on its war of aggression under Nazism, thus gaining neighboring countries' trust.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro said that he has reflected on the "tremendous damage and suffering" incurred on the Asian people," but at the same time has tried to obscure Japan's responsibility by stating that Japan's isolation in the international community came about under the influence of "various circumstances."

Yasukuni Shrine visit

On the controversial prime minister's official visit to Yasukuni Shrine, Shii said that such a visit runs counter to the constitutional principles of peace and the separation between politics and religion. The shrine was a military-religious institute serving the war of aggression in the name of the emperor.

Koizumi insisted that the 1985 visit by then Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, who said that the visit was in his private capacity despite his signature as prime minister, was constitutional and that the government hasn't changed this view.

History textbook issue

Shii demanded that the government retract its approval of the textbook in question because it contradicts the 1982 government statement that textbooks should be edited based on the norm of reflection on aggression and colonial rule.

The prime minister in reply said he has no plan to retract it, insisting instead that the textbook was "appropriately approved after rigorous screening procedures." (end)