On June 22, Katsuya Okada, representative of the Democratic Party of Japan, the country's biggest opposition party, was in the Diet engaged with Prime Minister Koizumi in a heated debate over the question of visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.
Katsuya Okada censured Koizumi for putting a stake on Japan's diplomatic relations in search of added points for his "political performance", and for his attempt to earn more support for him by inciting the public's nationalist sentiments.
Okada added that Koizumi must take into account Japan's national interest and, as the Prime Minister, he is duty-bound to improve relations with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China, at the same time Okada once again requested Koizumi to stop his shrine visit.
One of Koizumi's arguments is: "In Japan's relations with the ROK and China, my visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is not a key issue, the key issue is to jointly look into the future, face up to history and how to value the ties of friendship."
We would like to ask Prime Minister Koizumi: Why, during your term of office as the PM, mutual visits by heads of state of the two countries have suspended for more than four years since the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, can you find a key matter beyond your visit to the Yasukuni Shrine?
As Prime Minister of a country, you've gone so far as to play with the sophistry as saying that "a white horse is not a horse", in an attempt to separate shrine visit from the key issue of "facing up to history", if this is not due to your naivete, then you are deliberately making unreasonable harassments.
We also want to ask: During the recent summit meeting between the ROK and Japan held in Seoul, why, in the two-hour talks, the dialogs on shrine visit and other questions of history, took up one hour and 50 minutes?
Why, during the "ROK-Japan friendship year" marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, there were such a terribly cold atmosphere and the contents of long harangue?
The second of Koizumi's arguments is: "In whichever country, giving memorial service to those who lost their lives for the country is a natural thing."
We would like to ask PM Koizumi: This year is the 60th anniversary marking victory of the world anti-fascist war, various commemorative activities, which, of course, also included memorial service, were held in European countries, why no query was raised to leaders of many countries, including Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who expressed their mourning during these activities, whereas Prime Minister Koizumi in Asia was impugned when he gave memorial service?
Why no one raised objection to the memorial services carried out recently by Koizumi in a war dead cemetery in Tokyo and in the Sulfur Island, but his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine are subjected to criticisms by public opinion at home and abroad?
Former US President Ronald Reagan was strongly opposed by the international community because he went to a German graveyard buried with SS (Schutzstaffel) soldiers, and the "cemetery disturbance" resulting therefrom was seen as a stain in Reagan's political career.
Apparently, memorial services, if conducted without regard to occasion and object, are by no means a "natural thing". We wonder whether or not Mr. Koizumi has forgotten this "unnatural thing" of Reagan?
The third of Koizumi's arguments is: "Japan has its own ideas, acknowledging differences and enhancing friendship are very important between countries. Efforts should be made in the future to win the understanding of (Asian neighbors)."
Prime Minister Koizumi, you've been paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine for four consecutive years, and each year you repeatedly tried to defend yourself, why, to this date, you still fail to win understanding from Asian neighbors?
Even in Japan, there is sign of an incessant downturn in the understanding about your persistent, arbitrary acts of shrine visit:
Firstly, Kiichi Miyazawa and four other former Japanese prime ministers held in their June 1 talks that Koizumi's shrine visit is an important reason for the deterioration of Japan's relations with its neighbors.
Later, Nakasone Yasuhiro and two other former prime ministers also held that Koizumi should be prudent in his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine;
Secondly, most domestic mainstream media in Japan oppose Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.
In the past, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Daily News, Nibon Keizai Shimbun and some national newspapers clearly expressed their objection, the conservative newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun with the largest circulation also published an editorial on June 4, saying that they cannot support Koizumi's shrine visit;
Thirdly, the result of a poll shows that those opposing shrine visit outdo those approving of it. Aren't these "Japanese ideas"?
Since logically it is untenable, sensibly it can't stand deliberation and sentimentally it gains no popular support, why you, Koizumi, continue to use senseless sophistry!