Taiwanese to sue Yasukuni to have relatives’ names struck

Ten relatives of Taiwanese who served in the wartime Imperial Japanese forces and are honored among the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine will file a lawsuit demanding that their kin be struck from the roster, their legal agents in Japan said Tuesday.

In the suit to be filed Aug. 11 with the Osaka District Court, the plaintiffs will also demand that the government and the Shinto shrine pay them damages, the lawyers said.

The Taiwanese were recruited into the Imperial Japanese Army while Taiwan was under Japanese rule.

The relatives argue that Yasukuni Shrine has violated their human rights by unilaterally enshrining their loved ones collectively without consent.

The state is liable for damages because it helped the shrine for an extensive time by providing information on the war dead, they will argue.

The lawyers said this will be the first lawsuit directly against Yasukuni Shrine seeking a halt to its collective enshrinement of war dead, and that several relatives of Japanese war dead in Tokyo and Okinawa plan to file a similar suit.

Last May, in a suit filed against the government by relatives of Koreans who died while serving in the Japanese army, the Tokyo District Court turned down their demands that the government stop enshrining Koreans among Yasukuni’s war dead and pay damages, saying it was not the government but the shrine that decided to honor the Koreans collectively.

The district court said the government’s provision of information to the shrine did not cause any specific disadvantage for the plaintiffs nor represent a violation of their personal rights or freedom of thought and conscience.