"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Observation by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the Visit to Yasukuni Shrine

[Date] April 21, 2002
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Today I paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine.

The purpose of my visit was to mourn sincerely all those who lost their lives for their country, leaving behind their families in spite of themselves, during the course of our country's history since the Meiji Restoration. I believe that the present peace and prosperity of Japan are founded on the priceless sacrifices made by many people who lost their lives in war. It is important that throughout the days to come we firmly adhere to the resolution to embrace peace and renounce war to ensure that we never resort to tragic war.

I consider it to be natural for me to pay homage at the Yasukuni Shrine, which has become over the course of many years, a central institution for many people of Japan to mourn those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

It is not my intention to once again cause anxiety and elevate tension in Japan and abroad by visiting Yasukuni Shrine on or around the day of anniversary of the end of the second world war. After careful consideration, I decided I could sincerely express my honest feelings by visiting the shrine on this day, on the occasion of the Annual Grand Festival in Spring. I believe that this would be fully understood by the people of Japan.