LDP ranks given ‘Yasukuni’ preview

Kyodo News

A documentary film on Tokyo’s war-related Yasukuni Shrine was given a prerelease screening in the capital Wednesday at the request of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who are concerned it may be “anti-Japan.”

The distributor of the film “Yasukuni” had argued that such a screening would be tantamount to censorship, but accepted the request later on condition that the screening would be open to every Diet member and not just to a certain group of lawmakers.

The film, to be released in April, received ¥7.5 million in grant money from the Japan Arts Council under the Cultural Affairs Agency.

Aware that the film was made with the support of the grant, Tomomi Inada, a House of Representatives member from the ruling LDP, asked the agency for a prerelease screening, sources close to the case said.

The film, directed by Tokyo-based Chinese director Li Ying, tells the story of a man who makes “Yasukuni Swords” but has mixed feelings about the war and the shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, as well as, years after the war, Class-A war criminals.

According to the distributor, the agency asked it for a prerelease screening because “a lawmaker regards the content of the film as a problem.”

The company was then notified of the names of Inada and other LDP lawmakers, it said.