Jun 15, 2005

Taiwan Natives Protest in Japan

A group of Taiwan's indigenous people failed to enter the Tokyo-based Yasukuni shrine
Because of the obstruction of Japanese police, a group of Taiwan's indigenous people Tuesday failed to enter the Tokyo-based Yasukuni shrine, where they had planned to protest against the enshrinement of their relatives who died while serving in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Although the police made a chicanery that they were doing so to protect the Taiwan group from possible conflict between the group and Japanese right wingers, the Taiwan group expressed strong protest against the Japanese government's stance of stopping their protest plan at the shrine.

Some 60 Taiwan natives, led by Kao Chin Su-mei, arrived near the shrine on Tuesday morning by bus, but they couldn't go further and had to give up their protest plan because the police told them that a group of right wingers was standing around the shrine.

"The police even didn't allow us to get off the buses in case of our walk-march to the shrine," Kao Chin told Xinhua.

After arriving at the shrine, the Taiwan natives were suspended by Japanese police because Japanese right wingers, numbering around 100, had placed several vehicles in front of the shrine gate as road-block to stop the Taiwan group from entering the shrine.

"We just wanted to liberate the souls of our ancestors," Kao Chin told reporters. "We expect people in Japan to support our peaceful demand."

The Taiwanese people held up signs in front of and inside the buses that had slogans reading: "Apologize to former colonies" and "Remove our ancestors' names (from the enshrinement list at Yasukuni)."

"Although we couldn't enter the shrine today, we will come again with ten times more supporters until the shrine returns our ancestors' spirit tablets and remove their names from the shrine's enshrinement list," Kao Chin said, adding that the group will never give up the demand for justice.

The group also displayed photos about Japanese army's atrocities on Taiwan indigenous people during the aggression war, indicating that these photos, taken by Japanese, are irrefutable historical evidence of the atrocities.

Kao Chin also strongly protested the Japanese government and police forces at a following press conference. "We always take peaceful negotiations to realize our demand, but have been repeatedly cheated by the self-assumed 'democratic and liberal' Japanese government."

The Taiwan natives who arrived in Tokyo Monday for a weeklong protest tour will host a series of activities with three purposes -- removing their ancestors' names from Yasukuni shrine's enshrinement list, calling on peace loving Japanese people not to visit the shrine, and urging Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to stop his Yasukuni visit.

Koizumi has visited the Shinto shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals responsible for Japan's aggression war against its Asian neighbors, once a year since taking office in April 2001. Last month, he indicated a plan at a parliament meeting to again visit the shrine sometime this year.


Source: China View