Koizumi: Japan a peace-loving country
Updated: 2006-01-19 07:54
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi claimed Wednesday that his
country has reflected on its militaristic past and is now a peace-loving
country, the Associated Press reported.
The comment is sure to draw resentment from China and South Korea, both
victims of Japanese invasion in last century, which thought Japan has not
properly atoned for wartime atrocities.
"In its path to a modern nation, Japan experienced war," said Koizumi when
addressing supporters at the annual convention of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party in Tokyo.
"But in the 60 years since (World War II), we have built a prosperous nation
based on a reflection of that war,'' he said.
Minister Junichiro Koizumi (C) waves a penlight with his Liberal
Democratic Party Secretary-General Tsutomu Takebe (L) and senior LDP
member Mikio Aoki during an LDP convention in Tokyo January 18, 2006.
Shrine visit urged
Also during the party gathering, the LDP urged the party members to
continue the visits to the Yasukuni Shrine -- a practice which has
soured Japan's relations with neighboring countries, according to the Xinhua
Keeping the practice alive is to "show condolences to the dead that laid
foundation of the countries and to demonstrate the resolution of not engaging
war and realizing perpetual peace." said a LDP guideline adopted at
The Tokyo-based shrine houses 14 Class A war criminals and is considered by
Asian countries as a site of glorifying the militarism.
Koizumi has paid five annual visits to the shrineŁ¬angering the Asian
neighbours, especially China and South Korea.
His latest visit in October 2005 sparked outrage in the two countries, where
many believe Japan has never truly shown remorse for offenses committed during
its rampage through Asia that culminated in World War II.
Koizumi's likely party successors Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and
Foreign Minister Taro Aso are both staunch supporters of the Yasukuni visits by
Koizumi who repeatedly indicated his will to step down when his term ends in
Japan's prime minister is chosen in a parliamentary vote. The leader of the
LDP is almost certain to become prime minister as the LDP returned a huge
majority to Parliament's powerful lower house at national elections last year.