Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Japan/Yasukuni/Asahi newspaper

Representative Henry Hyde, chairman of the U.S. House International Relations Committee, sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert in April asking that Koizumi promise to stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine if he is to address a joint session of Congress, the Asahi newspaper reported yesterday, citing a copy of the letter. Koizumi is scheduled to visit the U.S. in late June


Koizumi has said he doesn't understand criticism of his trips to Yasukuni, which memorializes 14 war criminals among the more than 2 million war dead honored there. He has visited the shrine five times since becoming Prime Minister in 2001, damaging relations with China and South Korea, which argue the memorial glorifies Japan's invasion of Asia during World War II.bloomberg


"We will work to clear up misunderstandings, if there are any, of the purpose of the visits. But I believe that most Congressmen respect the freedom of religion and such criticism is rather rare," Abe told a news conference.


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