Dozens of protesters rallied at the Japanese consulate in Central over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine.
The Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands and the Hong Kong Coalition for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia held a vigil at City Hall Memorial Garden before marching to the consulate, where they set light to an imperial Japanese flag. They were joined by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), trade unions, youth groups, and legislators waving banners, chanting slogans and banging their shoes against the nameplate of the consulate, demanding an apology for war atrocities and compensation.
'The Japanese were criminals during the war, killing millions and causing pain and suffering throughout China and Hong Kong,' said Lo Chau, of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands. 'For him to visit the shrine on the anniversary of the war, to pay tribute to the criminals who committed all those atrocities, is absolutely unacceptable.'
DAB legislator Lau Kong-wah, who led a group of party members to the protest, said: 'Today was supposed to commemorate the end of the war. For Koizumi to visit the shrine at such a sensitive time shows his attitude towards Japan's role in the war to be indifferent.'