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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 June 4 - 10  > SDF top officials in uniform attend ceremony at ‘Yasukuni’ in Hokkaido
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2014 June 4 - 10 [SDF]

SDF top officials in uniform attend ceremony at ‘Yasukuni’ in Hokkaido

June 6, 2014
A group of top officials of the Self-Defense Forces in Hokkaido on June 5 in uniform attended a memorial ceremony of the Hokkaido Gokoku Shrine, the so-called “northern Yasukuni”.

This provoked fierce criticism for ignoring the principle of the separation of religion and state.

Those who took part in the event were some ten officers of the Ground SDF in this region, including the Second Division’s commanding general and the commanding general of the Northern Army who sent his proxy. They were received with much courtesy and invited to sit at honored guest seats. The GSDF office explained that their visit was not part of official duties and they went there on a day off.

During the spirit-consoling service for the war dead, the chief priest read a prayer which praises the soul of soldiers who died in battlefields under orders of the emperors of Meiji and Showa.

A person delivered a speech on behalf of Machimura Nobutaka who is the president of the Hokkaido federation of groups for war bereaved and a Liberal Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives. The speech praised Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last year. He said, “It is significant that the prime minister showed his gratitude to the war dead.”

Matsuzaka Katsuyo, 43, who serves as a pastor at a church in Asahikawa City, said that the group’s visit goes against the constitutional principle of the separation of religion and state. He said he was horrified to hear the priest’s prayer and the guest’s speech which justified Japan’s past war of aggression.
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