The Genron NPO, in a statement issued Dec. 26, reproached Prime Minister Abe for visiting Yasukuni Shrine the same day, saying it would make it much more difficult now to resume government-to-government diplomacy in tension-ridden East Asia.
The statement said that the prime minister visited Yasukuni Shrine at a time when the Chinese communist leadership is showing signs of a change in its diplomatic stance toward Japan, as indicated by the reference in its diplomatic policy toward its neighbors to the importance of nongovernmental diplomacy and reconciliation with neighboring states.
In addition, China is under fire from the international community for its unilateral establishment of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), thereby providing a great opportunity for Japan to resume governmental diplomacy with China, it regretted.
"By forcing through the visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which has angered neighboring countries, however, Prime Minister Abe has made it more difficult for Japan to resume government-to-government diplomacy (with China and South Korea)," the statement warned.
Prime Minister Abe, in his statement titled "Pledge for everlasting peace" issued on the occasion of his visit to the shrine, said Japan must never wage a war again using the word of "the no-war pledge". It reads: "I have renewed my determination before the souls of the war dead to firmly uphold the pledge never to wage a war again."
The Genron NPO's statement described his reference to the no-war pledge as being "inane and superficial," and generating the contradictory result of distancing Japan from peace.
At the 9th Tokyo-Beijing Forum, held in late October in Beijing, The Genron NPO and its Chinese partner, the China Daily, issued a joint statement called the Beijing Consensus, which features the adoption of a "no-war pledge" between Japan and China.
"By issuing the Beijing Consensus, we have created a major current at the initiative of the private sector toward the resumption of government-to-government diplomacy (between Japan and China). The latest visit to Yasukuni Shrine by the prime minster will cast a damper on the efforts to create an environment for governmental diplomacy," it regretted.
While expressing its grave apprehension over the prime minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine, the statement called on the peoples of Japan, China and South Korea to make a level-headed judgment on the matter.
"The Genron NPO is determined to facilitate further civil diplomatic efforts to enable the resumption of governmental diplomacy and thereby create an environment toward the establishment of a crisis management system in the East China Sea," it said.