NCC Japan opposition statement on War Shrine visits

Statement letter from National Christian Council in Japan to Japan's Prime Minister calling for Japan to admit the wrongs of aggressive warfare and to embrace the principles of the Japanese Constitution.

Statement letter from National Christian Council in Japan to Japan's Prime Minister calling for Japan to admit the wrongs of aggressive warfare and to embrace the principles of the Japanese Constitution.

To: Prime Minister, Koizumi Jun'ichiro
Statement of Protest Against Visits to Worship at Yasukuni Shrine

We Christians are taught that "Justice exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to all people." However, in the past we were witness to the sins of our nation as it pursued aggressive warfare and colonialist policies in other Asian nations. We did not protest, but in fact committed the sin of accepting and supporting these policies.

Repenting of these sins, we have strived through prayer, verbal protest and action, to call our nation to admit the wrongs of aggressive warfare and colonialist policies, and to stand firmly on the principles of peaceful non-aggression, the sovereignty of the people, and respect for basic human rights as clearly stated in the Japanese Constitution.

However, Prime Minister Koizumi, you have trampled on our desires, and since August 13, 2001, have continued obstinately to push ahead with yearly visits to worship at Yasukuni Shrine culminating in the visit this year on August 15. We rigorously protest these visits to worship at the Yasukuni Shrine by the Prime Minister of Japan.

The Prime Minister, as representative of the Japanese people, is infringing on Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution when he makes an official visit to worship at Yasukuni Shrine. Such visits were deemed unconstitutional by a judgment put forth by the Osaka High Court on September 30, 2005. This is not a matter of criticism from our Asian neighbors. The Prime Minister ought to conform to the law and Constitution of Japan. Ever since 1969 when the Liberal Democratic Party submitted the Yasukuni Shrine Bill, we the people have continued to protest any connection between the Yasukuni Shrine and the nation state. We strongly urge that the head of state lend an ear to the voices of the people, and terminate any visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

The Yasukuni Shrine glorifies the aggressive war and colonial policies of the past. We are particularly disturbed by the Prime Minister's visits to the Shrine because it expresses an affirmation of that particular view of history. This can be called nothing other than a violation of the peaceful spirit of the Japanese Constitution which was established on the basis that the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In particular we protest this visit on August 15th, because it glorifies and affirms war, and serves to stir up once again the type of militarism and nationalism of the past, which compelled the Japanese people to sacrifice their lives for the nation state.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister's visit to worship at Yasukuni Shrine goes against the peaceful non-aggressive policies of Japan which have won the trust from foreign countries. These visits break the bonds of reconciliation and goodwill that have been forged over many long years with the people of Asia.

Given these recent developments, we strongly protest the visit of the Prime Minister to worship at Yasukuni Shrine, and insist that under no circumstances should the Prime Minister worship again at the Yasukuni Shrine.

August 15, 2006

Rev. Seiji Suga
Chairperson,
Committee on the Yasukuni Shrine Issue
National Christian Council in Japan