Japanese Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit Challenging Prime Minister's Visits to War Shrine

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Japan's Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit on Friday that opposed the prime minister's visits to a controversial Tokyo war shrine, handing an apparent victory to the conservative backers of his visits.

The decision was the first by the highest court on the annual visits by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto complex honoring Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals.

The visits have brought bitter criticism from China and South Korea that Tokyo remains unrepentant for atrocities it committed during the World War II era.

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