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Enshrined Conflict In Asia (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 04:10 AM
Japanese officials, including the prime minister, have been making controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, a shrine to Japanese war casualties. It was recently ruled that his past visits to the shrine were illegal, but this Monday the prime minister made another visit. This shrine is usually associated with Japan's conflicts with China and the US, and critics say it represents Japan's militaristic past. The leaders of China have already espressed outrage at the prime minister's visits to the shrine, and now South Korea joins them in their anger.
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon says he has dropped plans for a possible visit to Japan, due to a row about a controversial shrine.

Mr Ban said the trip was not appropriate in current circumstances.

The decision comes just a day after the Chinese authorities cancelled a planned meeting of Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers, also apparently in protest.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This appears to be a major block to relations between the three countries currently involved- Japan, South Korea, and China. These nations are all part of the six-party talks with North Korea, and their relationships with eachother are key to stability in the region. Apparently this shrine is a rather new one, not like the ancient Shinto shrines in Japan, and the prime minister's presense at it is a huge and seemingly deliberate insult to other Asian leaders, as well as being ruled unconstitutional by the Japanese high court (violation of seperation of church and state). The prime minister has further declared he will make regular visits, and made one this Monday, after which the Nikkei index fell on the news. With US officials making key diplomatic trips to China this week, I'm sure this will be on the agenda, but it will probably remain largely behind closed doors.

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posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 04:16 AM
Pacifism in Japan is dying quickly for good or for ill it is happening.

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 07:56 AM
How are the visits to the shrine illegal, rather than, say, impolitic?

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 08:00 AM
I thought I read somewhere that is was a State-Church seperation thing
Which seems odd. Cannot find where I read that now though, maybe mistranslation.

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 03:15 PM
They aren't "illegal" per say... they have been ruled unconstitutional by the Japanese high court, stating they violated separation of church and state.

Here is the source...
From Reuters... shrine visits unconstitutional

Judge Masaharu Otani at the Osaka High Court said Koizumi's visits to the Shinto shrine were official acts and violated Japan's constitutional separation of religion and state, but rejected the plaintiffs' claim for damages for mental distress caused by the visits, Japanese media said.

"Prime Minister Koizumi says his visits are private. This is a very regrettable verdict," Kyodo news agency quoted top government spokesman Hiroyuki Hosoda as saying.

[edit on 19-10-2005 by RogerKint]

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 03:54 PM
Latest comments from South Korea

“Even though the two sides had discussed my visit to Japan, the schedule had not been decided,” Ban told reporters at a weekly press briefing. “I think the mood is not good to seek a visit at the moment.”

“As Cheong Wa Dae mentioned, we need to think whether it is appropriate to hold a summit under the current circumstances,” Ban said.

“The diplomatic problem caused by the prime minister's visit to the shrine is not tied with the six-party process,” Ban said. “Countries involved in the six-party talks should continue the negotiations.”

That is some pretty serious language... at least it's a positive that he separated the conflict from the six-party talks. Here is some public sentiment from the region:

Interesting Background information and opinion

The father of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was a key figure in efforts to lure Koreans living in Japan to North Korea. Junya Koizumi died in 1969.

Junya Koizumi, as a member of the Diet’s lower house, served as a key figure in the association and was actively involved in shipping off Japan's Korean residents, according to Takao Toshikawa, the editor-in-chief of Tokyo Insideline, a biweekly members-only magazine.

“To Prime Minister Koizumi, the truth that his father was one of the main figures involved in sending Korean residents in Japan to North Korea is a huge taboo,” Toshikawa told the Chosun Ilbo. “It seems contradictory for someone to persist in worshipping at the Yasukuni Shrine while being attached to normalizing ties with the North, but that is definitely related to his father’s political background.”" target="_blank" class="postlink">Op-Ed From China

Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine on October 16, 2005 -- the day that China's Shenzhou VI safely landed at a designated site in the Inner Mongolian plains bringing a five-day orbital flight to a successful conclusion. The stubborn man with the American Gigolo-Richard Gere hairdo apparently has thoughts other than peace in mind on that date.

The girly man who specializes in the one-envelope-two-letters approach in Sino-Japanese relations is the embodiment of irreconcilable Japanese sentiments today -- petty, selfish, myopic, insolent, seclusive, weird, combative, jealous, and maniacal.

The Chinese government is now taking a very strong stance on the shrine visits as well. The state paper contains very strong statements, and the story is on the lead page of their site. Elsewhere, Japanese diplomats are being turned away from China as well as South Korea.

From the People's Daily in China

Externally, he said, "My visit to the shrine is not to mourn specific objects, but to express my grief over those who fell in the combat zone not out of voluntariness and those who rushed to the battlefield, and I went to the shrine with the determination that war must not be launched again."

Internally, he declared, "As Japanese, it is absolutely not a bad thing to pay our due respect and express our sincere thanks for the war dead"; "Although I know that China is dissatisfied, I wonder whether it is suitable for me to stop the visit just because foreign countries claim our practice of consoling the souls of the deceased is "improper", the Yasukuni Shrine cannot be replaced by any other facilities even if they are built."

These two internal and external different tunes, in today's information society, finally can only lead to the complete loss of trust at home and abroad.

Japanese Foreign Minister denied visit to China

"Koizumi's visit is a grave event," said Kong. China has a "very clear" stance pertaining to the Yasukuni Shrine, namely that the country is in firm opposition to Japanese leaders' visit to the Yasukuni "at any time" or "in any form", he said.

"Prime Minister Koizumi cannot change the nature of his visit no matter what manner he adopts," the spokesman said, adding that it is only natural for China to react strongly over the issue.

[edit on 19-10-2005 by RogerKint]

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 08:01 PM
More harsh words from China on the shrine visits...

"Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine has resulted in very grave consequences, for which he should bear full responsibility," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan.


And within the US government, there is now discussion.
US walks fine line in shrine fight

"We would hope that countries in the region could work together to resolve their concerns over history in an amicable way and through dialogue," the State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday.

"We're treading a really fine line on this, and there is a debate among people in Washington about what we should do," said Derek Mitchell, a former special assistant to the U.S. defense secretary for Asian affairs. "Some people think we're sort of implicated in this by our silence, by not coming out more forcefully in principle," he said.

"We have a vision we're implementing of a much more active and robust U.S.-Japanese alliance in the region that is constructive and helps provide peace and stability," said Mitchell, the senior fellow for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To the degree that Japan is not seen as constructive, as having not dealt with its past and therefore not welcome to be involved in the region, it hurts us."

It is just strong words flying between Japan, China, and South Korea, but this issue is definitely affecting diplomacy in the region.

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