Friday, January 07, 2005

LDP wants parliament members to visit Yasukuni

The Liberal Democratic Party's policy goals for 2005 are
to revise the Fundamental Law of Education and urge
lawmakers to continue visiting Yasukuni Shrine, party
sources said Thursday.

The LDP is expected to adopt its platform for the year
at its Jan. 18 convention.

According to the sources, the draft of the platform says
the party "must pledge to realize" the revision of the
basic education law this year despite the controversy
over whether to refer to patriotism in the legislation.

A panel involving members of the LDP and its coalition
ally, New Komeito, has been working on how to refer to
patriotism in the law without stirring concerns about
reviving the fervent nationalism that marked Japan's
military rule before and during World War II.

The LDP's platform will not mention Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni, which China
strongly protests because it honors World War II war

However, the LDP policy says party members will continue
to go to the shrine to "thank and pay memorial tribute"
to the war dead and civilian victims of war.

The document also says the LDP will urge the government
to impose "severe" sanctions on North Korea in the event
bilateral talks regarding the issue of Japanese
nationals abducted by the North do not move forward
promptly, the sources said.

On the territorial dispute with Russia over a group of
islands off Hokkaido, the LDP will aim to resolve the
decades-long issue, saying the "pride of the ruling
political party" is at stake, the sources said.

The proposed platform recommends holding a workshop in
Hokkaido in March about the Russian-held islands, which
were seized by the Soviet Union in 1945, to inform the
public about the issue, they added.

Regarding Koizumi's postal privatization plans, the
platform falls short of fully supporting the plan of its
own president, due to internal opposition, and only says
the party will "make a final decision" through dialogue
with the government.

In his comments for the new year, Koizumi, the LDP's
president, expressed his determination to begin the
process of privatizing the state-backed Japan Post in
April 2007. Postal privatization is one of the pillars
of his structural reform drive.

The LDP will also repeat its plans to draft a revision
to the Constitution by its 50th anniversary in November.
(JT online)

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