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Japan court refuses to stop PM visit to war shrine

[JURIST] A Japanese court Tuesday refused to grant a petition by a group of Japanese and South Korean citizens seeking to stop Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official website, English version] and Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara from visiting a Shinto shrine honoring Japan's war dead, including convicted World War II war criminals. The petitioners had argued in Tokyo District Court that their visits would violate provisions in the Japanese constitition on the separation of religion and state. Koizumi and Ishihara have both visited the Yasukuni Shrine [official website in Japanese] in previous years; last year a court in southern Japan ruled that Koizumi's past visits did indeed violate the constitution [JURIST report], but that ruling did not affect future visits. AP has more. Koizumi has not yet said whether or when he will visit the shrine again, insisting that "I will make the appropriate decision." Japan Today has local coverage.

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