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    Nakasone’s repellant pragmatism about the Yasukuni Shrine

    Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, whom fellow Reagan fans will remember, weighed in on the Yasukuni Shrine issue this morning:

    Speaking on a Fuji Television program on the morning of 26 June, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone emphatically voiced his opposition to the construction of a secular facility to commemorate Japan’s war dead in place of the Yasukuni Shrine: “I’ve been against it all along. We absolutely need to avoid letting the Yasukuni Shrine, where those who died for our country are honored, be abandoned.”

    Of Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi’s visits to the shrine, he indicated that “[At this point] they’re not in the best interest of the nation. If the Class A war criminals cannot be enshrined separately, I think he should leave off visiting.” On the topic of the Tokyo Tribunals, he stated, “I don’t concede [that they were just]. Not in the least do I believe that those convicted of Class A war crimes were criminals.”

    Well, that’s unequivocal. Of course, context would help. (I wasn’t watching the show.) The belief that many were imprisoned or executed simply for losing the war is understandable in some cases. However, “some cases” does not include those involved in orchestrating a war that included the Rape of Nanking and the comfort women system, which is what we’re talking about when we use the bland designation “Class A war crimes.” And considering what used to happen to the vanquished in less enlightened times, the punishments meted out to the Germans and Japanese were relatively mild.

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