The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department yesterday charged Independent Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) with “assault, forced obstruction of police duty and disrespect toward a place of worship” and transferred the case to the Tokyo District Prosecutors’ Office.
Chin, a lawmaker representing an Aboriginal constituency, was accused of leading a group of 10 Taiwanese Aborigines into Yasukuni Shrine’s worship chamber without authorization on Aug. 11, 2009. Chin was also accused of assaulting a member of the shrine’s staff, injuring the staff member’s finger.
Chin said at the time the surprise demonstration was a bid to get the Japanese government to remove the names of Aborigines forced to fight in the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II from the shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead.
The group managed to reach the square in front of the main hall, chanting slogans and carrying banners demanding that Japan “give us back our ancestors’ spirits.”
Former Japanese legislator Shingo Nishimura subsequently filed a criminal lawsuit against Chin on the grounds that her actions were “an insult to the Japanese people.”
While collecting evidence on the case, the police department asked Chin for her opinions when she vacationed in Japan in February, but Chin declined to comment on the issue, saying “things in the past do not matter anymore.”
Noting that Chin had committed similar actions in 2005 and 2006, and had a record of being forcefully removed by police, and therefore “has a high chance of a repeat violation,” the police department noted on her transfer papers that “Chin’s actions were violent and despicable, and should be levied with heavy punitive measures.”
Article 188 of Japan’s Criminal Code states: “Any person who openly commits an insulting act against a shrine, temple, cemetery or any place of religious worship shall be punished with penal servitude or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or with a fine not exceeding ￥100,000 [US$1,300].”
“The penalty shall be penal servitude or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or a fine not exceeding ￥100,000, if the offender has disturbed or interfered with preaching, religious exercises or a funeral,” it adds.
It is rare for Japan to prosecute foreign legislators and Chin is also the first Taiwanese lawmaker to be considered a criminal suspect in Japan.
According to the police department, police cannot specify any other accomplices aside from Chin, and because she was currently residing in Taiwan, the police “could not arrest her.”
In response to the charges, Chin said she and her group have a video tape that shows what “really happened” at the shrine, which she said proved none of her group attacked the Japanese security guards.
“Even if I am indicted, no one can sway me from my resolve to have the names of those Taiwanese Aboriginal ancestors removed from Yasukuni Shrine,” she said, adding that she felt sorry that Japan, which she described as “a so-called democracy and free country,” had pressed charges.
“The whole world is watching,” she said.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER, WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Two US senators were critical of the WHO after a senior WHO official appeared to hang up on a Hong Kong reporter who asked about Taiwan’s membership status in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. During a video interview with Radio Television Hong Kong’s Yvonne Tong (唐若韞) on Saturday, WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward first claimed not to have heard her question on whether the WHO would consider giving Taiwan membership. When Tong repeated the question, he asked her to “move on to another one.” The video then showed the line disconnecting after Tong said she would like to hear more about Taiwan.