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War-bereaved families' association for peace celebrates 20th anniversary of founding

The War-Bereaved Families Association for Peace and against War (Heiwa Izokukai) on July 1 held a gathering in Tokyo to mark its 20th anniversary.

Professor emeritus of Tokyo University Horio Teruhisa, an education scholar and a Heiwa Izokukai member, gave a lecture on "Education for war and the Fundamental Law of Education."

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi sent a message of greeting, which was read out at the gathering.

Referring to the move to adversely revise the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, Ichida in his message said, "It is unacceptable to revise Article 9 because it tramples on the war-bereaved families' wish to 'not create war dead and bereaved families again.' Adhering to the principles of the Constitution, let us establish peaceful and friendly relationships with Asian countries."

On August 15, 1985, then Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro officially visited the war-glorifying Yasukuni Shrine. In opposition to the move that glossed over the war of aggression by politically using the war victims and bereaved families, seven war-bereaved family members on July 1, 1986 launched Heiwa Izokukai.

At that time, war-bereaved families had to apply for benefits and other administrative measures through the Japan War-Bereaved Families Association, a constituent body of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Seeking fair administrative measures for war-bereaved families, family members across the country joined Heiwa Izokukai one after another. Heiwa Izokukai now has branches in 11 prefectures.

Nakasone's visits to Yasukuni Shrine are repeated by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro now.

Shimada Sukehiro, a representative of Heiwa Izokukai, said, "Yasukuni Shrine not only provokes diplomatic disputes but adversely affects the nation's future. For the sake of our country's future, we, the bereaved families, take it on as our mission to raise voices against the ongoing move to turn back the pages of history."
- Akahata, June 29 and July 2, 2006

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