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Friday, 10th September 2010
In General Japan News,

PM candidate opts out of war shrine event

One of Japan's prime ministerial candidates has confirmed he will not be visiting Japan's Yasukuni war shrine.

Ichiro Ozawa explained he felt the inclusion of honours to 14 war criminals made it impossible for any officials to make a visit to the shrine for the foreseeable future.

He added if the names were removed then "prime ministers or anyone can make a visit and there is no reason for us to be criticised by other countries".

A number of war criminals from World War II,  including General Hideki Tojo, who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor, were enshrined at Yasukuni during the 1970s.

Only one Japanese prime minister has officially visited the shrine since the war; Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1985. However, a number of cabinet members have paid their respects and the prime ministers Ryutaro Hashimoto and Junichiro Koizumi have apparently made private visits.

The shrine was initially established in 1869 and officially named the Yasukuni Shrine in 1879.

Written by Susan Ballion.