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Japan PM visits war shrine despite court ruling

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official website, English version] honored the country's war dead by praying at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine [official website] Monday, despite conflicting court decisions on the constitutionality of Koizumi's visits to the shrine. Last month, the Osaka High Court ruled [JURIST report] that the visits violate constitutional provisions for the separation of church and state, but earlier this month, the Takamatsu High Court upheld [JURIST report] a lower court decision [JURIST report] to dismiss a lawsuit against Koizumi over the visits. Monday's visit to Yasukuni, founded in 1869 to serve as a monument to Japan's war dead - including war criminals, is Koizumi's fifth since he became prime minister in 2001. However, the visits have further weakened [Xinhua report] already shaky relations with China and South Korea, who see Yasukuni as honoring war criminals who have inflicted suffering and pain. AP has more.

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