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Koizumi makes 5th visit to war criminal shrine
2005-10-17 21:02:37 Xinhua English

TOKYO, Oct. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Monday the Yasukuni shrine which honors Japan's World War II war criminals.

The visit was the fifth since he took office in 2001.

The shrine enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals as well as about 2 million Japanese war dead.

The premier's previous visits have resulted in strong criticism from Japan's neighboring countries, especially China and South Korea, making the issue the major stumbling block for developing smoothly relations with the two countries.

The Osaka High Court ruled on Sept. 30 that the visits were in his official capacity and had violated the constitutional article of the separation of state and religion. In addition, a district court in the Fukuoka prefecture has also made the same judgment.

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