SEOUL – The South Korean Foreign Ministry on Thursday blasted the refusal of a Japanese court to side with a group of South Koreans who want Korean names removed from the list of those formally enshrined at war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
“In short, a ruling that can never be understood has been delivered in Japan,” spokesman Cho Tai Young said.
“It’s deeply regrettable a ruling has been given that runs contrary to humanity and history,” Cho said.
The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a July 2011 lower court ruling that rejected the South Korean appeal on grounds that the plaintiffs must “show tolerance of others’ freedom of religion” even though their feelings were hurt by the enshrinement of their compatriots’ names at the Shinto facility.
“Enshrining at Yasukuni Shrine those Korean victims forced into labor against their will is an enormous encroachment on the honor and dignity of them and their families because the shrine glorifies Japan’s imperialistic aggression,” Cho said.
The plaintiffs are nine relatives of deceased servicemen and civilian employees who were employed by the Imperial Japanese military during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, and an 88-year-old former civilian employee who is enshrined there as a “spirit of the war dead” despite still being alive.