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Kanzaki says next prime minister should not visit Yasukuni Shrine+
[January 11, 2006]

Kanzaki says next prime minister should not visit Yasukuni Shrine+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)FUKUOKA, Jan. 11_(Kyodo) _ New Komeito party leader Takenori Kanzaki said Wednesday that the successor to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should not visit the war-related Yasukuni Shrine so that Japan can mend ties with Asian countries.

"Repairing the relationships with Asian countries is an important responsibility of the next Cabinet," Kanzaki said at a party meeting in Fukuoka. "The next prime minister should not visit Yasukuni Shrine."

Kanzaki, whose party is the coalition partner of Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party, said the prime minister's visits to Yasukuni, where Class A war criminals from World War II are also honored, are inconsistent with Cabinet policy as past leaders have issued statements reflecting on Japan's invasions.

Koizumi's annual visits to the Shinto shrine in Tokyo -- the latest on Oct. 17 -- have enraged China, South Korea and some other Asian countries, mainly because the shrine honors Class A war criminals along with the war dead.

The prime minister has said he will step down when his term as LDP president expires in September.

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