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    Yasukuni Shrine visits not grounds for civil suit

    Something else from the Japanese courts, this time on a recurring topic here:

    The Naha District Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit against the government and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that was filed by almost 100 people seeking damages over Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

    The ruling dismissed claims from the 94 plaintiffs, who experienced or lost relatives in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, that Koizumi’s visits to the shine had caused them to suffer, and rejected their demand for 100,000 yen each in compensation.

    In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Kazuto Nishii refrained from saying whether or not Koizumi’s visits to the shrine, which enshrines class-A war criminals, violated the Constitution or if they were made in an official role.

    Of course, Judge Nishii refrained from saying so–that’s the million-dollar question. But he didn’t have to; the reason behind the dismissal was “that the legal right to strictly request the separation of religion and state was not a benefit for residents and that that they could therefore not demand compensation if this right was violated.” Okinawans are Japanese citizens, so the issue is not the same as it is with comfort women; they do frequently get the country-cousins treatment, though.

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