Objections from Japan’s ruling political party have caused the government to put off any decision on whether to build a secular war memorial, sources said Sunday.
Many Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers have insisted that Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine remain the key place to pay homage to war dead despite an advisory panel’s recommendation in December that a new facility be built to coexist with the shrine.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda has said the issue to build a new facility depends on the Japanese people’s opinions.
New Komeito, which is backed by the lay Buddhist group Soka Gakkai, has called for a new facility. The party is one of the LDP’s two ruling coalition partners.
South Korean President-elect Roh Moo Hyun has unofficially conveyed to Japan his willingness to visit the facility if it is built.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni on Jan. 14 for the third time since taking office. Because Yasukuni also enshrines Japanese war criminals, the visit incurred protests from Asian countries, particularly China and South Korea, who were victimized by Japan’s past war aggressions.
Senior ruling coalition lawmakers who visited Seoul told a top South Korean official Tuesday that they will construct such a nonreligious facility. But a number of LDP lawmakers have protested those remarks as going too far, according to a senior LDP official.
Koizumi hopes to be re-elected as the head of the LDP in an upcoming LDP presidential race this fall, so he needs to woo as many LDP lawmakers as possible, the sources said.
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