U.S. political leaders voiced strong concerns over the Japanese prime ministers paying respects at the Yasukuni Shrine. Thus, it is expected that the controversies over the Yasukuni Shrine will heat up in Japan with its election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president slated for this September.
Stop Paying Visits to the Shrine If to Give an Address at the U.S. Congress
The Asahi Shimbun reported on May 13 that the U.S. House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (Republican, picture) demanded that Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi be allowed to give an address at the U.S. Congress during his visit to the U.S. on condition that he voluntarily declare that he would not pay tribute at the Yasukuni Shrine. In a letter that he sent to the U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert in April, Hyde expressed his concerns over possibility that Prime Minister Koizumi would pay his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, a few weeks after he delivers an address at the U.S. Congress.
In the letter, Hyde, a veteran who fought during the World War Ⅱ, said, if Prime Minister Koizumi pays his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted Class A war criminals, after he addresses the U.S. Congress, it would be a disgrace to the U.S. Congress, a place in which U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt gave an address right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Reports have it that House Speaker Hastert is yet to reply to the letter.
Conflicts with Korea and China Would Impact the U.S.-Japan Alliance in the Future
Meanwhile, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Michael Green, former senior director for Asian Affairs at the White House National Security Council, warned, Conflicts involving Japan versus Korea and China over perceptions of history are likely to negatively impact the U.S.-Japan alliance in the future, addressing the New York Japan Club on May 12.
He said, In the United States, the public opinion is divided over the issues of Japan-Korea relations and Japan-China relations. He went on to say, Japan has to solve this problem to some degree until the U.S. presidential election in 2008.
Class A war criminals Separation from the Yasukuni Shrine Suggested
Meanwhile, reports have it that head of Nippon Izokukai (an association for bereaved family members of Japans war dead) Makoto Koga, who is former Liberal Democratic Party secretary general, is considering including a proposal for a review on separation of Class A war criminals from the Yasukuni Shrine in a policy proposal that he is preparing.
Nippon Izokukai, which has one million families as members around the country, is a powerful support group of the Liberal Democratic Party, and one of its declared major goals of operations has been the Japaneses prime ministers paying respects at the Yasukuni Shrine.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that this move on the part of Makoto Koga is intended to make Asian diplomacy a key issue in the upcoming election for LDP president
Meanwhile, regarding the letter of Chairman Hyde, the Japanese government assumed a wait-and-see attitude, saying Its just an individual opinion.
However, the observation that the Yasukuni Shrine and Japans Asian diplomacy will be key issues in the upcoming election for LDP president is already prevailing. With regard to this, Kogas proposal is likely to serve as a critical factor.