A Japanese high court was to rule Thursday on the constitutionality of one of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a Tokyo war shrine denounced by Japan's neighbors as glorifying militarism.
The Tokyo High Court is considering an appeal by plaintiffs whose suit demanding compensation for anguish caused by Koizumi's 2001 visit to Yasukuni shrine _ his first as prime minister _ was rejected by a lower court in November 2004.
In the previous ruling, the Chiba District Court near Tokyo threw out the 63 plaintiffs' call for a total 630 million yen (US$5.8 million; Ђ4.82 million) in damages, but did not rule on the constitutionality of the visits. In the previous ruling, the Chiba District Court near Tokyo threw out the 63 plaintiffs' call for a total 630 million yen (US$5.8 million; 4.82 million) in damages, but did not rule on the constitutionality of the visits.
The high court decision comes amid intense media speculation about whether Koizumi will make another visit to Yasukuni, which enshrines Japan's 2.5 million war dead, including executed war criminals from World War II, reports the AP. I.L.
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