South Korea criticized Japan on Thursday for a court’s ruling against South Koreans who had asked for the removal of their relatives’ names from those listed at the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo. On Wednesday, the Tokyo High Court had dismissed the appeal of a group of 10 South Koreans – nine relatives of Korean servicemen and civilian employees who served in the imperial Japanese forces during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, and a former civilian employee, 88, who is alive but whose name is enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine. The court ruled that the South Koreans needed to respect Japan’s religious beliefs.
“Japan has made incomprehensible rulings and decisions,” said Cho Tai-young, the spokesman of the South Korean foreign ministry, in a briefing. “The enshrinement that glorifies its imperialistic history seriously damages the personality of the people,” he added. Expressing “deep regret over the thoughtless decision against humanity,” he stressed that the South Korean government is keeping its interest high in the issue and has vowed continued support for the plaintiffs. Upholding the ruling of the Tokyo District Court in July 2011, the high court said that although the plaintiffs argue that their feelings have been hurt, they need to “show tolerance of others’ freedom of religion.”
The Yasukuni war shrine, a continual cause of strain in relations between Japan and its Asian neighbors China and South Korea, includes in its lists the names of about 21,000 Koreans who were forced into military service and killed during World War II. The shrine, which honors convicted Class A war criminals along with millions of Japanese war dead, is viewed by South Korea and China as a symbolizing Japan’s imperial past. As many Japanese leaders and politicians continue to pay their respects here, China and South Korea continue to call out Japan as being unrepentant over its wartime acts. Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was again slammed by South Korea for sending his offering to the shrine, even if the premier did not go personally to pay his respects.
[via Global Post]