A Tokyo war shrine at the center of a row with Beijing has come under intense cyber attack, with its Web site barraged by e-mails believed to come from China, a shrine official said yesterday.
The Yasukuni Shrine is dedicated to Japan's war dead, including several convicted war criminals. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to it have enraged China which has refused any state visits between the countries.
The Web site started seeing attacks after Koizumi visited in August 2001, a Yasukuni official said. The attacks became heavier last September, sometimes reaching 900,000 times a minute, shutting down the site five times last year.
"These attacks on the Yasu-kuni Shrine can be taken as not only attacks on the 2.5 million souls who gave their lives for the sake of the country but are also a malicious challenge to Japan," the shrine said in a statement on its Web site.
"We would like to let the people [of Japan] know the Yasukuni Shrine is under attack, which is a dirty act of terrorism that negates the order of Internet technology and society," it said.
The official said the statement was issued now to let people know of possible inconvenience in visiting the Web site, which offers background on the shrine built in 1869 and a staunch defense of Japan's wartime past.
He acknowledged it would be nearly impossible to prosecute cross-border cyber attacks and said the statement was not meant to dissuade hackers.
A typical attack is to send bogus e-mails using the Yasukuni Shrine's address to a large number of fictitious accounts, causing mail servers to pass a flood of error messages to the Yasukuni site, the shrine said.
Most mails have been written in Chinese and many error messages had come from mail servers in China, it said.