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Group Lawsuit Against Japanese PM
More than 235 descendants of people who were killed during Japan's aggressive war filed a suit against Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Monday, saying his three visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine were unconstitutional and violated their rights.

The suit -- filed on behalf of 124 Chinese from Taiwan Province, 111 Japanese and one South Korean at Japan's Osaka District Court -- argues for a total compensation of 2.36 million yen (US$19,600) for mental damage caused by Koizumi's visits.

The Osaka District Court has accepted the suit, Xinhua reported on Monday.

During the Japanese aggression in the 1930s and 40s, a number of people from China's Taiwan and South Korea were forcibly drafted into the Japanese army and died on the battlefield.

The draftees are now celebrated at the shrine against their descendants' will, along with Japanese war criminals.

The plaintiffs said they had tried many times to ask the Japanese Government to move their ancestors from the shrine, but their claims have been ignored.

The suit says to honor the victims with the aggressors are the greatest mockery of the dead, which violates the will of their descendants and the right of choosing a religion.

The plaintiffs from Japan hold that Koizumi's visits violate the Japanese constitution, which sets a bad example to its society.

Since Koizumi's first visit in August 2001, a number of lawsuits have been filed by outraged descendants of war victims.

(China Daily February 19, 2003)

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