- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2006


Hirohito stopped visiting war shrine

TOKYO — Japan’s late wartime emperor Hirohito stopped going to the Yasukuni shrine because it honored war criminals, a document showed yesterday, prompting fresh debate over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits that anger Asian neighbors.

Japanese press published excerpts of personal journals from a former top palace official, Grand Steward Tomohiko Tomita, purporting to confirm years of speculation that Hirohito opposed enshrining notorious wartime leaders.

Hirohito went eight times to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors the Japanese dead from 11 wars. His last pilgrimage was in November 1975. In 1978, the Shinto shrine’s head priest secretly enshrined 14 top war criminals.

Hirohito’s son, Akihito, has not visited the shrine since ascending the Chrysanthemum Throne in 1989. But Mr. Koizumi has gone each year, enraging China and South Korea, which see the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s past aggression.


Mass burial held for tsunami victims

PANGANDARAN — Rescue workers recovered decomposed corpses from ruined homes and hotels in this tsunami-devastated town yesterday, and a mass burial was held for some of the 531 persons killed by the waves.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed to have a nationwide tsunami warning system in place by mid-2008, months ahead of schedule, following criticism that the government failed to tell residents about the impending disaster. One is still not in place despite the 2004 tsunami that killed tens of thousands in Indonesia.


40 officers charged in coup plot

MANILA — The Philippine military has recommended that 40 of its officers, including two generals, face court martial for their role in a purported plot to oust President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in February.

Rear Adm. Rufino Lopez, head of a military panel investigating the incident, said yesterday that 125 lower-ranking members of elite units faced similar charges of mutiny or sedition.

Mrs. Arroyo, who survived an impeachment attempt last year over accusations of vote-rigging and corruption, cited a purported conspiracy by rogue troops, communist rebels and political foes when she invoked a brief state of emergency in February.

Weekly notes

Malaysia withdrew a university textbook on race relations this week after protests by ethnic Chinese and Indians over the depiction of certain historical events, including racial riots in 1969 when poor Malays targeted the prosperous Chinese business community. Half of Malaysia’s population of roughly 25 million is Malay, but Chinese and Indians form sizeable minorities. … Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is expected to issue an apology today to Japanese who emigrated to the Dominican Republic under a state-sponsored program in the 1950s and faced economic hardships after arriving there. The apology follows a lawsuit filed by 177 emigrants and their kin, which was turned down by the Tokyo District Court in June. The plaintiffs are now expected to drop an appeal against the ruling.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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