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2024 February 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

165 MSDF personnel also worshipped at Yasukuni Shrine

February 17, 2024

Akahata on February 16 learned that 165 commissioned officers of the Maritime Self-Defense Force in uniform had collectively worshipped at the controversial shrine.

Regarding a group visit by SDF members, who are designated as special government officials under the National Public Service Act, to the war-glorifying Yasukuni Shrine, the Ministry of Defense admonished Ground SDF Vice Chief of Staff Kobayashi Hiroki and some other GSDF executives for visiting in official vehicles and offering prayers at the shrine in January.

It has now become clear that group worship in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of religion and state is not limited to the GSDF and is widespread within the SDF.

Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution stipulates, “The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.”

The Defense Ministry in 1974 issued a notice stating, “SDF officials strictly refrain from visiting houses of worship in units and forcing unit members to participate.”

Past related articles:
> GSDF top officers’ visit to Yasukuni Shrine may violate 1974 official notice [January 17, 2024]
> GSDF vice chief of staff visits Yasukuni shrine [January 10, 2024]
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