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Koizumi's Shrine Visit Is a 'Good Will'?
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Talking about the current chilly Sino-Japanese relations, its cause and the urgent task in developing the relationship during his recent press conference, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the Sino-Japanese relationship indeed has run into many difficulties, but it has nothing to do with China or the Japanese people.

"It only has to do with the fact that the leader of Japan continues to visit the shrine where the class-A war criminals are honored. This has extremely offended the Chinese people and people in the rest of Asia. Pending a solution to this issue, the China-Japan relationship could hardly develop in a smooth manner."

On the same day, commenting on Premier Wen's remarks, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said to Japanese reporters that it is a matter of his 'good will' to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which he does not believe to be crucial. He also said it should not become a political issue or a diplomatic card.

However, inside stories leaked recently show that his 'good will' is neither a common will nor insignificant, but is actually a 'political card' for Koizumi.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata once said, while he was heading the "association of parliament members visiting the Yasukuni Shrine", Koizumi never visited the shrine. But why did he suddenly become the 'fan' of the shrine after he became the Prime Minister?

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary and Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party hit the mark with a single comment: promising to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15 each year was a 'tactic' used by Koizumi to compete with Hashimoto for votes to become the President of the Liberal Democratic Party.

It can be seen that Junichiro Koizumi's 'good will' when campaigning for the President of the LDP in 2001 was to distinguish himself by the promise to visit the shrine, dressing himself as the "tough guy" who can say "no" to Asian neighbors and catering to the right wing and extreme nationalists. Therefore, Koizumi's 'good will' five years ago had already made his visits to the Shrine a "political issue" and a "diplomatic card".

(People's Daily Online March 17, 2006)


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