TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi prayed Monday at a Tokyo shrine honoring the country's war dead, defying critics who say the visits glorify militarism and triggering angry protests from China and South Korea.So here we have Koizumi's visit directly, and severely harming the national security of Japan. Brilliant. But the sick thing is, this will probably only endear him further to his citizens.
The visit was Koizumi's fifth to the Yasukuni Shrine since becoming prime minister in April 2001 and came despite a recent court decision that the visits violate Japan's constitutional division of religion and the state.
China and South Korea, which suffered from Tokyo's conquest of East Asia in the first half of the 20th century, immediately filed protests with Japanese officials.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing summoned Japanese ambassador Koreshige Anami to Beijing, saying the shrine visit "severely damaged China-Japan relations," the ministry said on its Web site.
"The Chinese government and Chinese people express strong anger," it said.
Noting that this year is the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and that Koizumi had apologized for Japan's wartime aggression, China said the leader had "swallowed his own words."
China and Japan also canceled a planned meeting between envoys to discuss disarming North Korea.
"Koizumi is riding on a mood in government that nobody can speak against him now," political analyst Minoru Morita said. "He even ignored the court ruling to deliver a message that he is a ruler who makes his own decisions."Yup, Koizumi was ordered not to attend by a court, and he's such an ass he still went, just because he could.
Hm... defying the rule of law, endangering national security, all to score cheap political points. Sound familiar?