Cablegate: Yasukuni Museum to Reexamine Some Displays
DE RUEHKO #4893 2370930
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250930Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5773
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 3933
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1748
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0065
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS TOKYO 004893
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL JA
SUBJECT: YASUKUNI MUSEUM TO REEXAMINE SOME DISPLAYS
1. (SBU) Summary. Yasukuni Shrine's war history museum has
begun reviewing the way it characterizes U.S. strategy before
and during World War II, Japanese media reported August 25.
The shrine's response reflects in part Japanese response to
growing public criticism from former senior U.S. officials.
Even conservative political commentator Hisahiko Okazaki,
former Japanese Ambassador to Thailand, supports the
reexamination on the grounds that the museum's "shoddy"
portrayal of history "hurts the dignity" of the shrine. The
museum is reexamining, among others, the display entitled,
"Roosevelt's Great Strategy," which states that President
Roosevelt decided to enter WWII to stimulate the weak U.S.
economy. Even if the museum decides to alter its
descriptions of U.S. strategy during the War, many other
controversial exhibits will likely remain in place. End
2. (SBU) Yasukuni Shrine's war history museum has begun
reviewing the way in which it characterizes U.S. strategy
during World War II. According to August 25 media reports,
changes will be made to the display entitled, "Roosevelt's
Great Strategy," which states that President Roosevelt
decided to enter World War II to stimulate the weak U.S.
economy. In order to enter the War, "the only option
available to Roosevelt...was to drive resource-poor Japan
into a tight corner with a grade embargo to force (Japan) to
A Reaction to Foreign Criticism?
3. (SBU) The shrine's decision to reexamine the commentary
in its displays is likely, in part, a reaction to widespread
foreign criticism. For example, some former high-level U.S.
officials have publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the
way the museum portrays the U.S. role before and during World
War II. Even Former Japanese Ambassador to Thailand Hisahiko
Okazaki has charged that the museum's "shoddy" view of
history "hurts the dignity" of Yasukuni Shrine. Okazaki, a
conservative political commentator and a close advisor to
Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe, pushed for changes to various
exhibits on display, according to the press. He publicly
applauded Yasukuni Shrine's decision in July to embark on a
serious and conscientious examination of its displays.
Other Controversial Sections Will Likely Remain
4. (SBU) The timeline for implementing changes to the
commentary is unclear and, even if the museum decides to
alter its descriptions of U.S. strategy before and during the
War, many other controversial exhibits will likely remain in
place. For example, there has been no mention of whether the
museum would reconsider its critical stance toward the War
Crime Tribunal. It has a large display featuring the sole
dissenting opinion from Judge Radhabinod Pal and a large
marble bust of him on display.