Parliamentary minister says, 'Class-A war criminals were not guilty'

In speaking of the controversial Yasukuni Shrine visit, Morioka Masahiro, parliamentary secretary of health, labour and welfare in the Koizumi cabinet, stated at the meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers that "Class-A war criminals were not guilty."

Glorifying Japan's war of aggression, Morioka on May 26 stated that now that war is accepted as another form of politics, Japan's was in accord with international law.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Tribunal, May 1946-November 1948) judged 24 Class-A war criminals, including then prime minister Tojo Hideki who commenced the Pacific War, as guilty of planning, preparing, and exercising the war of aggression. It held them responsible for committing crimes against peace and humanity.

Denouncing the Tokyo Tribunal as a "unilateral" embodiment of the allies' aim to retaliate against Japan, Yasukuni Shrine enshrines these Class-A war criminals as heroes who devoted their lives for the sake of the Emperor. Morioka is siding with Yasukuni Shrine's reckless campaign to glorify the war.

The 1945 Potsdam Declaration, which Japan accepted, urges it to punish war criminals. Also, under Article 11 of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan promised to "accept the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East," and "will carry out the sentences imposed thereby upon Japanese nationals imprisoned in Japan."

This is what Japan promised internationally as a condition for its return to the international community. Morioka's statement violates this pledge.

Morioka is a member of the lawmakers association which calls for the use of rightist history textbooks. He chairs the league to act in defense of Japan's territories, composed of lawmakers of the LDP and the Democratic Party. Last March, the league invited a rightist leader to the Diet to talk about the issue. - Akahata, May 27, 2005

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