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PacNet #46 – Koizumi’s dangerous determination to keep a promise

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro made his fifth visit to Yasukuni Shrine. There was the predictable response from other Asian nations, but it is clear that those protests fall on deaf ears. If the prime minister’s determination is plain, so too are the consequences, and they have become the real issue in the debate over Yasukuni Shrine: Tokyo’s readiness to ignore the concerns of its neighbors and to stoke tensions undermine its efforts to play a leading role in the region. They risk isolation and threaten to undo the gains made in recent years.