Cancel Yasukuni visit: JCP to prime minister

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on August 1 sent a letter to
Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro, requesting him to cancel his planned
official visit to Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, the anniversary of the War's
end. The letter stated as follows:

Prime Minister Koizumi has repeated that he will visit Yasukuni Shrine as
prime minister. If the visit takes place, it will give rise to serious
irretrievable adversity in relation to the constitutional principles of
peace and democracy and will undermine Japan's relations with Asian

In the prewar period Yasukuni Shrine was the religious-military facility
that enshrined as "the souls of war heroes" those who "died a glorious death
for the emperor." It is an undeniable historical fact that it served as a
spiritual mainstay for Japan perpetrating militarism and its war of

Following the War's end, the shrine's status was changed to a religious
corporation. However, it maintained intact the prewar cause of worshipping
as heroes those who sacrificed themselves in the interests of the state. As
a result, 14 Class-A war criminals, including Tojo Hideki, the prime
minister at the time, are enshrined together there as "martyrs of the Showa
era" to give the impression that they were the victims of the war.

For Prime Minister Koizumi to officially visit Yasukuni Shrine is
tantamount to declaring inside and outside Japan that the Japanese
government approves of the war of aggression.

In 1985, then Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro paid an official visit to
Yasukuni Shrine, causing severe criticism from within Japan and abroad. In
the following year, he had to stop such visits to the Shinto shrine. In a
statement on August 14, 1986, then Chief Cabinet Secretary confirmed that
visiting the shrine is constitutional, and went on to say:

As regards the prime minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine, it may arouse
suspicion about honoring Class-A war criminals. Also, it will eventually
increase misunderstanding and distrust of Japan, though on every occasion
the government has referred to its reflection of the past war and expressed
its determination to pursue peace and friendship with other Asian nations.
Such a course of events will neither aggrandize the national interest of
Japan, hoping that friendship with other nations be promoted, nor meet the
ultimate wish of the war dead.

If Prime Minister Koizumi visits Yasukuni Shrine officially, it will mean
that the government violates these international pledges.

For these reasons, the Japanese Communist Party demands that Prime
Minister Koizumi immediately cancel the planned official visit to Yasukuni
Shrine. (end)