S. Korea slams Japan for ruling on war shrine

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea criticized Japan Thursday for its latest ruling against South Koreans who called for the removal of their relatives' names from those listed at a controversial war shrine in Tokyo.

A day earlier, the Tokyo High Court dismissed the appeal of a group of 10 South Koreans -- nine relatives of deceased servicemen and civilian employees who served imperial Japanese forces during its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, and a former civilian employee, 88, who is alive but whose name is enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine.

"Japan has made incomprehensible rulings and decisions. The enshrinement that glorifies its imperialistic history seriously damages the personality of the people," said Cho Tai-young, the spokesman of the South Korean foreign ministry, in a briefing.

Expressing "deep regret over the thoughtless decision against humanity," he stressed that the South Korean government bears high interests in the issue and vowed continued support for the plaintiffs.

Yasukuni arbitrarily lists the names of about 21,000 Koreans who were forced into military service and killed during World War II.

Back in 1959, the 10 Koreans were listed at the shrine, which honors many convicted Class A war criminals along with millions of Japanese war dead and is viewed here as symbolizing Japan's imperial past.

Upholding the ruling by the Tokyo District Court in July 2011, the high court said the plaintiffs argue their feelings have been hurt but they need to "show tolerance of others' freedom of religion."

Japan's unrepentant attitude over its 20th-century wartime atrocities in Asia has been a cause of strained relations between the two neighbors.


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