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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 May 15 - 21  > JCP Kokuta to religious leaders: Let us oust LDP gov’t which aims to return to prewar era ideology
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2024 May 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

JCP Kokuta to religious leaders: Let us oust LDP gov’t which aims to return to prewar era ideology

May 16 & 17, 2024
Representatives of a network of religious people on May 16 in the Diet building lodged a protest with the Ministry of Defense against a group visit by Self-Defense Force officers and members to the war-glorifying Yasukuni Shrine.

Asked if it was true that Ground SDF officers and personnel in a group visited the controversial shrine in January, an official of the Ministry, responded, “It was a private visit by all the participating personnel under their own free will.”

The Ministry official insisted that the “troop visit” to the shrine did not violate the 1974 official notice by the Vice-Minister of Defense ruling that religious activities should be “strictly refrained from official visits.”

Prior to the protest, Japanese Communist Party Diet policy chief Kokuta Keiji (House of Representatives) met with the religious leaders.

He called on them, saying, “The current regime governed by the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komei Party is aiming to return to a nationalist ideology from the prewar period. Let’s replace the LDP-Komei government with a government representing an opposition party coalition!”

* * *

On the previous day, Kokuta at a Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting revealed that about 350 students (aged 15 to 17) from the GSDF High Technical School “for training” went to Yasukuni Shrine as a group in January 2019.

Confronted with this fact, State Minister of Defense Oniki Makoto admitted that the students had visited the shrine-attached military museum “Yushukan”. He, however, did not say if they had worshipped at the shrine.

Kokuta further revealed that the School’s first-year students also visited the Yushukan in late August 2019. The School posted on X in early September a video of the event. The video shows that the students lining up marched toward the main sanctuary “Honden” and passed through the giant gate “Otorii” and the main gate of the shrine.

The Yushukan is a central facility of Yasukuni Shrine which glorifies Japan’s past war of aggression. Kokuta said, “Training at and visiting the religious facility which was a spiritual pillar of militaristic Japan is nothing but a form of ideological education that goes back to the prewar period.”

Past related articles:
> MSDF evades 1974 notice by calling worship of Yasukuni Shrine ‘history learning’ [February 20, 2024]
> 165 MSDF personnel also worshipped at Yasukuni Shrine [February 17, 2024]
> GSDF top officers’ visit to Yasukuni Shrine may violate 1974 official notice [January 17, 2024]
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