Journalists solo protest against revival of Japans militarism

Tong Yee Siong

Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

As 200 mourners paid homage at a war memorial in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to remember those killed in the Japanese invasion during World War II, a young journalist staged a silent protest at the Japanese Embassy.

Hoo Wing Siong, 24, told malaysiakini that he felt the need to do something to express his outrage after he heard news that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had visited Yasukuni Shrine a day before.

"I felt cheated because earlier the ruling Liberal Democratic Party headed by Koizumi gave its words that there would be no visit to the war shrine," said Hoo.

He added that Koizumi's visit to the shrine was tantamount to "piercing the Asian people with a knife again" and could spark a revival of Japanese militarism.

The controversial shrine in Tokyo is the place where Japanese war died, including 14 Class-A Japanese war criminals, were deified and honored.

Most Japanese paid their respects to their war dead on Aug 15, the 56th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

Wartime atrocities

Hoo said none of his family members was killed during the Japanese occupation.

However, he began to feel strongly against the wartime atrocities committed by troops of the Japanese Imperial Army after he visited a museum in China early this year which documented the 1937 Nanjing massacre.

He added that he was also inspired by South Korea's members of parliament who protested at the Japanese embassy in Seoul against a controversial textbook which whitewashed the history of Japan's military aggression.

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