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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 21 - 27  > South Koreans sue Yasukuni over enshrinement
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2007 February 21 - 27 [HISTORY]

South Koreans sue Yasukuni over enshrinement

February 27, 2007
On February 26, 11 South Koreans filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government and Yasukuni Shrine, demanding that their names and their relatives’ names be removed from the shrine’s list of honored war dead.

The lawsuit brought to the Tokyo District Court is the first case filed by South Koreans against Yasukuni Shrine.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Oguchi Akihiko at a press conference stressed that this suit is not about money. He said, “The plaintiffs’ husbands or fathers were forcibly taken to Japan during WWII and have not come back yet. Although no death notice has been sent to them, their names are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine against their wishes. The main purpose of this court case is to redress this wrong.”

Oguchi also pointed out, “The Yasukuni Shrine issue is fundamentally a problem of the Japanese people,” adding, “We should sincerely do what we must do as Japanese to deal with the reality that is still torturing our friends in neighboring countries.”

While still alive, Kim Hee Jong, an 81-year-old plaintiff, was certified as killed in Saipan on July 8 1944, and listed as war dead in October 1959. He said, “Yasukuni Shrine claims [the war dead] are gods, but we went to fight not by choice. We were forcibly taken there.”

Plaintiff La Gyeong Im, 64, said, “My father was detained by Japan under its colonial rule and has never been set free. I will continue to struggle until I achieve his liberation.” La’s father was killed in eastern New Guinea on May 30 1944, and enshrined at Yasukuni in April 1959.
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