Saturday, January 28, 2006
Emperor Should Visit Yasukuni: Aso
TOKYO (Kyodo)–Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Saturday it is desirable for the emperor to visit Yasukuni Shrine and told China to stop complaining about Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to the Shinto shrine in Tokyo.
‘‘From the viewpoint of the spirits of the war dead, they hailed ‘Banzai’ for the emperor — none of them said ‘prime minister Banzai!’ A visit by the emperor would be the best,” Aso said in a speech in Nagoya.
The remarks by the hawkish foreign minister risk further damaging chilled relations with China and South Korea, victims of Japanese militarism before and during World War II who have strongly protested Japanese leaders’ visits to the shrine that honors 14 Class-A war criminals along with the war dead.
The last visit by an emperor to Yasukuni was in November 1975 by Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.
The Class-A war criminals, including executed Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo, were enshrined Oct. 17, 1978.
On criticism against Koizumi’s visits, Aso said, ”The more China voices (opposition), the more one feels like going there. It’s just like when you’re told ‘Don’t smoke cigarettes,’ it actually makes you want to smoke. It’s best (for China) to keep quiet.”
(Slightly modified from Nikkei Net, photo plucked randomly from Google images)