Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Families want relatives' names out of Yasukuni

STAFF WRITER

The relatives of Taiwanese conscripted into the Japanese military plan to file a lawsuit in Japan demanding that their relatives' names be removed from the roster at the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, according to Japanese newspaper reports.

The Japanese-language Mainichi Shimbun reported on Wednesday that seven relatives of men who served in the Japanese military, including a Taiwanese man conscripted during World War II, were set to file a suit on Aug. 11 at the Osaka District Court.

Damages sought

Meanwhile, the English-language Japan Times reported that 10 relatives of Taiwanese forced into the Japanese Imperial Army when Taiwan was a Japanese colony were filing a suit demanding that their relatives' names be removed and that the government pay damages for releasing the names to the shrine.

It was not immediately clear if the two papers were referring to the same lawsuit.

According to lawyers who represent the relatives of the Taiwanese conscripts, this will be the first time that Yasukuni has been directly sued in an effort to remove names from its collective enshrinement of war dead, the Japan Times said.

`Natural' request

"For those who are dissatisfied with the fact that their relatives' souls are worshipped at Yasukuni shrine, it is natural to demand that their souls be removed," a lawyer was quoted as saying by the Mainichi Shimbun.

Yasukuni shrine was established in 1869 during the Meiji Restoration as part of the official state religion of Shintoism. It was forced to become a private religious institution by the US occupation authorities after World War II, and now receives all of its funding from private sources.

Hundreds of Taiwanese served in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, the bulk of whom were conscripts.

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