Ein Shinto-Schrein, die Verfassung und der Friede

Statement of Protest Against Visits to Worship at Yasukuni Shrine

A Letter of National Christian Council in Japan
to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro


We, as Christians, have acknowledged and repented for the responsibility of the sinful acts of aggressive warfare that were committed in the past by our country against other countries of Asia. It is our prayerful desire for our country to now stand firmly on the principles of peaceful non-aggression, the sovereignty of the people, and respect for basic human rights as clearly stated in the Japanese Constitution. However, Prime Minister Koizumi, you have trampled on our desires, and continued to obstinately push ahead with yearly visits to the same shrine since your first official worship at Yasukuni Shrine on August 13, 2001, after assuming the office of Prime Minister. Mr. Koizumi, we rigorously protest your visits as Prime Minister to worship at Yasukuni Shrine for the following reasons.

On September 30, 2005, the Osaka High Court passed down the judgment that the visits by Prime Minister Koizumi to worship at Yasukuni Shrine were religious acts forbidden by Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution, stating that “in spite of the strong criticisms at home and abroad, the visits to worship at the shrine have continued, giving the impression that the government is giving special support to Yasukuni Shrine, which in effect is an unconstitutional act of promoting a particular religion.” We therefore sternly oppose your act of worship, which you pushed ahead with in spite of the court’s clear judgment that such acts are unconstitutional.

Furthermore, by defiantly going ahead with this unconstitutional act, your actions are in violation of Article 99 of the Japanese Constitution which stipulates that “all public officials from the emperor and regents, to the officials in charge of public affairs, members of parliament and judges are charged with the duty of respecting and upholding the Constitution,” and are thereby actions absolutely forbidden as the Prime Minister of a nation based on a constitutional form of government.

The Yasukuni Shrine was the main spiritual pillar of Japanese militarism before and during the war. Your acts of worship as Prime Minister are just the opposite of your statements that claim to “come from my feelings that we must never again start a war,” and must be called nothing other than actions which beautify and affirm war. They also serve to stir up once again the type of militarism and nationalism of the past, which compelled the Japanese people to sacrifice their lives for the nation state. This can be called nothing other than a violation of the peaceful spirit of the Japanese Constitution which was established on the basis that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

The plaintiffs in the Osaka High Court case included 116 names of the survivors of war dead from Taiwan in making the plea that “we who suffered under the Japanese colonial rule again suffered great pain when the Prime Minister went to worship at Yasukuni Shrine which was the supporting pillar of the pre-war Japanese spirit.” It is in this manner that the Prime Minister’s visit to worship at Yasukuni Shrine ignored the history that robbed the lives of over 20 million persons in the Asia Pacific War, and added insult to injury of those who are victims of that war. Furthermore, the Prime Minister’s visit to worship at Yasukuni Shrine caused the peoples of Asia to hold a deep distrust of Japan, as well as the collapse of the bonds of reconciliation and goodwill that have been forged over many long years with the people from Asia living in Japan.

For these above reasons, we strongly protest the visit of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro to worship at Yasukuni Shrine.

October 17, 2005

National Christian Council of Japan Committee on the Yasukuni Shrine Issue

Rev. Suga Seiji, Chairperson

Quelle: Fall 2005 - Spring 2006, Japan Christian Activity News

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