The Supreme Court of Japan dismissed a 278-plaintiff appeal against Koizumi yesterday, holding that his visiting Yasukuni “is not something that interferes with others’ religious faiths” and therefore cannot be the basis for a damage award.
However, they declined to rule on the constitutionality of the visits, stating that since there was no standing for the claim for damages, there was also no need to make a constitutional ruling. It’s another case of squirming out of the hot seat: the Supreme Court has used this tactic before to avoid addressing sensitive political questions, most notably whether the Self-Defense Forces are permitted under Article 9. (See my earlier post on the subject.)
Full story at the Japan Times if you’d like to know more.