July 18, 2005

Most Japanese want alternative war memorial – poll

TOKYO (Reuters) - Almost two thirds of Japanese favor
building a new war memorial as an alternative to Tokyo's
Yasukuni shrine, criticized as a symbol of the country's past
militarism, a newspaper poll said on Tuesday.

About 63 percent of respondents to the Mainichi Shimbun
poll said the government should build a new secular memorial to
the war dead, while only 28 percent opposed the idea, the paper

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to
Yasukuni have sparked anger in China and North and South Korea,
where many suffered under Japanese colonial rule before and
during World War II.

A secular memorial would likely be less offensive to
Japan's Asian neighbors, but is opposed by many Japanese
veterans and relatives of those who died in the war.

About 51 percent of respondents to the poll said they
opposed Koizumi's visits to the war shrine, while 39 percent
supported them. In a similar poll in December last year, 46
percent supported the visits and 41 percent opposed them.

Koizumi has said he worships at Yasukuni to honor the war
dead and pray for peace, but some Asian countries are angry
that Class A war criminals are among those honored at the

The Mainichi poll was carried out on July 16 and 17.