Prime minister's visit of Ise Shrine violates principle of separation of religion and politics

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro on January 6 visited Ise Shrine in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, accompanied by four Cabinet ministers. Akahata on January 7 commented on this visit as follows:

Ise Shrine is a religious site. The prime minister's worship of a particular shrine runs counter to the Constitutional principle of the separation of religion and politics as it means that the government considers the shrine to be special.

Ise Shrine is sacred to the ancestor God of the Emperor's family. Before and during the Second World War, Ise Shrine and Yasukuni Shrine were used as centers of national Shintoism by the Tennoist government in order to help control people's thoughts and mobilize them for war.

Based on a reflection of this role that the shrine played during the war, the postwar Constitution stipulates freedom of religion and separation of religion and state.

Prime ministers' visits to this shrine at the beginning of every year demonstrates the Liberal Democratic Party's anti-Constitutional and anti-democratic nature.

The prime minister's visit of Ise Shrine must not be accepted as customary.

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Earlier, on January 4, the Democratic Party of Japan President Kan Naoto and Secretary General Okada Katsuya visited the shrine together. (end)