• Kyodo

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China lodged a formal protest on Thursday over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s plan to honor Japan’s war dead at Yasukuni Shrine, Japanese Embassy officials said.

The officials said that Assistant Foreign Minister Wang Yi summoned Japanese Ambassador Koreshige Anami to the ministry to receive the protest.

Wang was quoted as describing the Shinto shrine in Tokyo as a symbol of Japan’s aggression in the modern era, and noting that it still enshrines convicted Class A war criminals.

He said that as the nation most victimized by Japan’s “war of aggression,” China strongly opposes visits by Japanese leaders to the shrine “in whatever form.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly criticized Koizumi’s plan to visit the shrine, officially or privately, and has urged Tokyo to act prudently.

Thursday’s move, however, marked the first time it has summoned the Japanese ambassador to receive a formal protest.

The protest came one day after Cheng Yonghua, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Asian Affairs, summoned Yoshio Nomoto, the No. 2 official in the embassy, to deliver demands that a new school history textbook be revised.

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