Japan PM slams China, South Korea for boycott over war shrine visits

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official profile] defended his annual visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine [shrine website] Wednesday, and condemned Chinese and South Korean leaders who refused to meet with him because he commemorates Japanese veterans from World War II. Several of those honored by the shrine were executed for committing war crimes, and Koizumi's visits prompted protests by China and South Korea [JURIST news archives], both victims of Japan's war-time aggression. Koizumi said it was up to Beijing and Seoul to resume top-level relations with Japan [JURIST news archive], adding "I do not understand why foreign governments interfere with a spiritual issue and try to turn it into a diplomatic issue." South Korea's foreign minister responded, saying "The key to the South Korea-Japan problem and maintaining cooperative relationships among nations in the region is for Japan's government to try to win trust and respect from related countries with a correct stance on the perception of history." Last September, Japan's Osaka High Court ruled [JURIST report] that the Prime Minister's visits violate constitutional provisions for the separation of church and state, but an October decision upheld [JURIST report] a lower court ruling [JURIST report] to dismiss a lawsuit against Koizumi. AP has more.

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