A Christian group has been staging a six day hunger strike in the centre of Tokyo in protest against the ruling Liberal-Democratic party's plans to "nationalise" they Yasukuni Shrine which enshrines the war heroes and the divine souls of the war dead.
GV Tokyo street scene PAN TO demonstrators with posters on sidewalk
SV People signing petition
CU Man with loud hailer
CU People handing out leaflets and signing petition (4 shots)
LV Shrine in distance with memorial in front
GV PAN People praying at shrine
CU Cherry Blossom
CU People praying at shrine
GV People around shrine
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Background: A Christian group has been staging a six day hunger strike in the centre of Tokyo in protest against the ruling Liberal-Democratic party's plans to "nationalise" they Yasukuni Shrine which enshrines the war heroes and the divine souls of the war dead.
The Christians, and many Buddhists and liberal opposition groups, see in the Government plan a desire to revive militarism and Shintoism, the ideological core of Japanese militarism in prewar days.
The prewar governments established Shintoism as the state religion and the people were encouraged to worship at the Yasukuni Shrine.
But when the Second World War was over General Douglas MacArthur issued an allied directive on Shintoism.
He regarded the Yasukuni Shrine as the source of the "Kamikaze" spirit of the Japanese fighting men and "denationalised" the Shinto shrines.
But since 1952 the Japan Society of the War Bereaved with 2 million members has been campaigning for the early enactment of a bill giving state protection to the Yasukuni Shrine.
Last Friday (11 April) the Liberal-Democratic Party pushed through the controversial bill which bring about "state protection" for the Yasukuni Shrine. Now all opposition parties, apart from the Japan Communist Party have threatened to boycott the Japanese Parliament until the bill is returned to the Cabinet Office.