Protect & Protest


     The office of Mr. Yoshinobu Shimamura, a representative who belongs to the LDP was set fire yesterday on August 15, which was the 62th anniversary of the end of the World War II. Mr. Shimamura visited Yasukuni Shrine that day with other members as a chairman of “Minna de Yasukuni Jinja ni sanpai suru kokkai giin no kai”, or the association of representatives and councilors who visit Yasukuni Shrine together.

     Did the criminal get angry that representatives and councilors visited the shrine, or have an individual grudge against him? Or the criminal pretended to come from an opposition force to plant a bad image for it…I don’t know. But the criminal must have a stong message to Mr. Shimamura. Anyway it’s a big shock to have such an act of violence.

     I don’t know the course of the dawn of the association of visiting Yasukuni Shrine, but someone might think that it would be a good idea to keep a low profile when politicians visit the shrine because there are many opponents of visiting there in the inside and outside of Japan. And you know, Japanese tend to gather in groups. Some people try to gather company when they commit suicide.

     Anyway, one of the reasons why Mr. Shimamura became the target may be that he is the leader of the association. He can’t help being prominent. When Mr. Shimamura visited the shrine, a big group named “Heiwa Izoku Kai”, or the association of peace and the bereaved families, was demonstrating to stop visiting the shrine. 

     And just then former comfort women and their supporters had meeting for demanding the Japanese government to offer the official apology in Korea. Mr. Shimamura is well-known for a politician who denies the involvement of Japanese government and military in gathering comfort women during the World War II. As for “comfort women”, on July 31 the House of Representative in US adopted a resolution demanding the apology from Japanese government for former comfort women.


     I think there are mainly three problems in Yasukuni Shrine. First, all of the war dead during the World War II are deified by Shinto. It’s not considered that the feelings of believers in other religions and colonials and so on at all. Second, it may be unconstitutional to visit the shrine as public officials like representatives because there is a constitutional rule of the separation of religion and politics. And finally, war criminals are also deified as gods in the shrine. It makes a strong opposition from other countries where Japan used to invade and of course inside Japan as well.

     Many politicians try to visit the shrine, not to try to solve the problems. Probably they have very heavy bonds. I mean they have to appeal to someone or groups who have power by visiting the shrine. Anyway, it’s a big problem that many politicians are trying to protect only own interests, but it’s another problem to allow someone to attack the opponent, true or fake. I’d like politicians to drive for international cooperation and to take action against the recourse of violence.

*Photos from the Mainichi (1 &2) and the Kyodo(3)


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