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Yuko Tojo to run for seat in Japan's Parliament

The granddaughter of the wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, who was convicted for crimes against humanity, wants to run for a seat in Japanese Parliament in July.

Yuko Tojo, 67, told The Associated Press she will run as an independent from the Tokyo constituency for the upper house.

"I want to change Japan. I want Japanese children to be able to take pride in their country again," Tojo said, but refused to discuss specific policies ahead of her campaign.

Gen. Tojo, Japan's prime minister from 1941 to 1944, unleashed a savage war of aggression on its Asian and Pacific neighbors and has been widely remembered both at home and abroad as Asia's answer to Adolf Hitler.

Tojo, who is enshrined together with Japan's 2.5 million war dead at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, also ordered the surprise raid on Pearl Harbor that plunged the United States into World War II.

Yasukuni is vilified by critics as symbolizing the country's militaristic past because it honors Class-A criminals like Tojo. The general was sentenced to death at the Tokyo war trials and executed in 1948.

Yuko Tojo has defended her grandfather, contending in a 1992 memoir that the general had no choice but to take Japan to war after the country's economy was threatened by a U.S. oil embargo.

The book became the basis for a movie in 1998, "Pride," which broke old taboos by portraying Gen. Tojo as the victim of vindictive Allied judges during the Tokyo tribunals.

Tojo, who heads an environmental nongovernmental organization, has also rejected suggestions that Yasukuni stop honoring executed war criminals to allay views in China and South Korea that Japan has not fully atoned for its wartime atrocities there.

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