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Two Japanese former PMs visit Yasukuni Shrine

Last Updated: Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 16:41

Tokyo: To mark the 64th anniversary of the end of World War II, Japan`s former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe on Saturday paid a visit to the war-related
Yasukuni Shrine.

Prime Minister Taro Aso has indicated he will not pay tribute at the shrine on the day and only one of his Cabinet ministers -- consumer affairs minister Seiko Noda – visited in the afternoon.

In remarks to reporters on Monday, Aso hinted that he would avoid a visit. "I think it is wrong to make people who sacrificed their precious lives for the state a political or election issue or fodder for newspapers. They should be far away from the (media) frenzy and kept in a place for more quiet prayer," he said.

Instead of visiting the Shinto shrine, Aso visited Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery to lay flowers.

Main opposition Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama said he would not visit Yasukuni if he becomes prime minister as a result of the August 30 House of Representatives election.

A group of 41 non-partisan lawmakers who advocate visits to Yasukuni also came to the shrine.

Koizumi did not respond to reporters` questions during his visit, while Abe said he visited the shrine to pay his respects to Japan`s war dead.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 16:41
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