The person selected to succeed Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi next year will probably continue visiting the Yasukuni war shrine to gain the support of the right wing, a Japanese academic said in Hong Kong yesterday. Kiichi Fujiwara, a professor of international politics at the University of Tokyo, said the need for right-wing backing was the same reason why Mr Koizumi had continued visiting the shrine, despite criticism from China and South Korea. 'I don't think he's a convinced conservative,' Professor Fujiwara said of Mr Koizumi. 'He's doing this for a political objective. 'I'm not sure if he'll visit next year because he's visited it this year already. But his successor could very possibly visit the shrine.' The Yasukuni Shrine honours 2.5 million war dead, including convicted war criminals from the second world war. Chinese leaders have expressed opposition to Mr Koizumi's continued visits to the shrine, resulting in strained ties between the two countries. Speaking yesterday at an Asia Society lunch, Professor Fujiwara said one way to solve the shrine issue was to build a national memorial that honoured all war dead from different nations. 'The answers are already on the table,' he said. 'One proposal that came from the Japanese government was to build a new national memorial that remembers all war dead. I think this proposal should move a bit forward.' Professor Fujiwara said it was normal in Japanese culture to have such a memorial, and there was already a similar one in Okinawa. He said the prime minister would probably continue his visits to the shrine until it affected Japan's economic relationship with China. 'The Japanese business sector right now is very worried about the deteriorating relationship between Beijing and Tokyo.'