Nearly 200 people gathered on Monday in Tokyo at a conference sponsored by a group of bereaved World War II families, demanding Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stop visiting the war-related Yasukuni Shrine.
They urged the Japanese prime minister to consider the feelings of other Asian countries that suffered from Japan's wartime aggression. The notorious shrine in Tokyo honors 14 Class-A war criminals responsible for Japan's aggression war against its neighboring countries.
Koizumi indicated Friday he would not visit the Yasukuni Shrine on or around the 60th anniversary of the end of the war. Kyodo News said Koizumi apparently hopes not to provoke a further deterioration in relations with Japan's neighbors.
Koizumi made his fourth visit to the shrine on January 1 last year. He has visited Yasukuni every year since taking office in April 2001.
Six decades after Japan's surrender in WWII, peace-loving people across Japan called for world peace, with war victims' relatives and civic groups taking to the streets or holding meetings to protect Japan's pacifist postwar Constitution.
(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2005)