Far right pays tribute to Japan's 'war heroes'
Saturday 14 August 2010
British and Japanese ultranationalists will shrug off protests from war veterans in an unlikely show of solidarity at a controversial Tokyo memorial today, on the 65th anniversary of Japan's surrender in the Second World War.
The British National Party member Adam Walker and France's most famous Holocaust-denier, Jean-Marie Le Pen, will be among a group of European delegates to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which venerates the militarists who led Japan's brief but disastrous rampage across Asia.
"I realise that there are war veterans in the UK who will see this as an insult, especially on V-J day, but Yasukuni is dedicated to the souls of men who died fighting for their country," said Mr Walker. "It's easy to point fingers now but these people were doing what they thought was right at the time."
Mr Walker was cleared earlier this year by the British General Teaching Council of "racial intolerance" after posting comments online calling immigrants "savage animals" and "filth" while working as a teacher in Houghton-le-Spring.
One of the most contentious pieces of real estate in Asia, Yasukuni is considered sacred by nationalists – and a monument to war, empire, and Japan's unrepentant militarism by millions of others. A museum attached to the shrine claims that Japan was lured into the war by the US and waged a campaign to free Asia from white European colonialism.
Japan's Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, who earlier this week apologised to South Korea for the colonisation of the Korean peninsula, has ruled out visiting the shrine out of respect for Asian victims of his country's past militarism. The leader of the LDP opposition, Sadakazu Tanigaki, meanwhile, plans to visit the shrine tomorrow.
But the European visit looks set to stir greater controversy. The foreign delegation, which also includes ultra-right politicians from Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Austria and Belgium, has been invited to Japan by Issuikai, a right-wing association that denies Japanese war crimes and wants to build a global alliance of nationalist groups to fight American "hegemony". Its leader, Mitsuhiro Kimura, counted among his friends the exiled Iraq leader Saddam Hussein, whom he urged to resist the US invasion of his country in 2003.
Yesterday he and other delegates attended a conference of "patriotic organisations" in Tokyo, where they discussed the perils of immigration, climate change and Islam.
One speech warned that "environmental Marxists" are exaggerating the quantity of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere in a plot to bring more immigrants into the advanced countries and destroy the nation state. "More and more climate immigrants are coming to Europe," said Thibaut De La Tocnaye, a leading member of France's National Front.
The Europeans were applauded when they advised Japan to reject mass immigration and demands that foreigners be allowed to vote in local elections. Mr Le Pen gave a speech on Islam, which he said had a "long tradition of invading other countries". "In my country they come and demand that they be allowed to build giant mosques. That's political, not religious."
Mr Le Pen waved away criticism of the Yasukuni visit. "These men are war heroes. We used to be enemies but I think we must pay respect to people who had to die for their country."
The BNP's Mr Walker, meanwhile, denied reports this week in The Daily Telegraph claiming that his trip was partly funded by British taxpayers. "The money came from Issuikai. I expect nothing less from The Telegraph. It's just a left-wing rag."
*North Korea has urged Japan to apologise and provide compensation for its harsh colonial rule, days after Tokyo offered an apology to South Korea for annexing the Korean peninsula, without mentioning the North.
North Koreans harbour deep resentment of Japan for using Koreans for forced labour and sex slaves during its 1910-45 occupation of the peninsula. North Korea does not have diplomatic relations with Japan.
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece debt crisis: Country firmly on course to hold EU referendum as eurozone leaders reject new bailout request
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...
£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...