Wed, Apr 06, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Legislators blast head of TSU for visit to Yasukuni

PAYING RESPECTS Very few lawmakers had anything good to say about Shu Chin-chiang's visit to the controversial war memorial during his trip to Tokyo

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Shu Chin-chiang's (蘇進強) visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo received harsh criticism at home yesterday.

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said that Shu's behavior has seriously sabotaged the dignity of the Taiwanese people and deserves public condemnation.

"There are indeed Taiwanese whose names are listed in the shrine, but they lost their lives by fighting for the Japanese, not for the Taiwanese people," Soong said. "Paying respects to the shrine is not only an insult to the people of Taiwan, it also hurts their feelings."

Shu's behavior also sets a very bad example for trampling on the feelings of Taiwanese women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during the World War II, Soong said.

Soong made the remark yesterday morning while making an annual pilgrimage to the mausoleum of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) in Taoyuan County.

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the demise of Chiang and was Tomb-Sweeping Day.

Yasukuni Shrine is dedicated to Japan's 2.5 million war dead and lists the names of 28,000 Taiwanese and 21,000 Korean soldiers, most of whom were forced into service under Japan's colonial rule.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said that the TSU owes the public an apology for visiting the controversial war memorial.

"It should admit making a terrible mistakes and apologize to the people of Taiwan," he said. "I don't think any country in Asia understands or agrees with what Shu did."

While the rest of the world condemns Japan's militarism in the early 20th century and world leaders refrain from visiting the contentious shrine, Chang said that the TSU seems to be "deranged with regard to space and time" and shamelessly conducts such a high-profile trip to the venue.

"What it does seem is as if he is encouraging the resurrection of militarism," he said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said that Shu's visit to the shrine was "inappropriate."

"His visit is only justified if it was aimed at condemning the colonial reign of the Japanese and the coercion of Taiwanese men to serve in the Japanese military," he said.

Although Shu has argued that he went to pay his respects to the 28,000 Taiwanese whose names are included in the memorial, Lin said that it is hard to clearly differentiate exactly who Shu paid homage to.

Echoing Lin's opinion, DPP caucus whip Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said that Shu, along with other political leaders wishing to visit the war shrine in the future, owe the public an explanation as to why they want to visit the shrine and who they want to pay their respects to.

Although Japan and Taiwan nowadays rely on each other a lot, Laid said that it is also a fact that many unfortunate things happened during Japan's colonial reign.

In response to the KMT's call to apologize for the contentious visit, TSU caucus whip Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said that the KMT should instead apologize to the public for leaving the 28,000 Taiwanese whose names are listed in the Japanese shrine to their own fate.

"The KMT has turned a blind eye to our own people who fought hard to protect our home land and left them alone there during its 50-year-old rule," he said. "It is such audacity to criticize our paying respects to them."

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