So Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine about 3 hours ago, and it's already splashed all over my international internet news links. I know that between what's going on with Lebanon/Israel and the "terror" news from London, you may not have the time - or interest - to keep up with Japanese politics. Well, look no further, friends! Let me educate you...(briefly)
Fourteen "Class A" war criminals are enshrined at Yasukuni, listed as gods. In addition, a museum at the shrine states that the Japanese were forced to enter World War II as an act of self-defence. And Koizumi, without reasonable explanation, insists on going there year after year. As you can imagine, China and Korea are in a state of uproar. The average Japanese person can tell you all about the nuclear horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But ask them about their opinion on Yasukuni, and you may get a blank look. Ya.
But don't listen to me. Read it for yourself at the following link:
Japan PM Koizumi visits war shrine
The "FACTBOX" link on the left side provides a nice and tidy overview of the shrine.
For the past week or so I've been reading the lead-up news to the August 15th anniversary date of Japan's surrender. Everyone knew it was coming; everyone knew he'd do it. But it's still disappointing. It simply reveals Koizumi's stubborn pride and arrogance, and makes China, Korea, and the rest of the international community trust him less.
This ridiculous quote from the article is a terrific example of this arrogance:
"I am here only to pray for peace," said Yasuteru Omiya, 28, a government worker, from Nagoya, central Japan.
"I think he (Koizumi) could have come on another day, but I also have the feeling that other countries should not interfere with our country's affairs," Omiya added.
Hey folks, if you want to be an isolated island, go for it! But if you want to be a part of the UN's security council and reap the benefits of playing ball with the international community, you gotta start abiding by some of the rules.
As you know, I love Japan. But the country's deep-seated pride and arrogance worries me on good days, and makes me rip-roaring mad on the bad ones. This may be a bad one.