Diplomats snub 'stunt' over PoWs in Japan

A proposal by Japan's nationalist foreign minister for a service to commemorate PoWs who died in Japan was in tatters yesterday when it emerged that ambassadors from Allied nations would not attend.

Taro Aso, whose family firm used British and Australian PoWs as slave labour during the Second World War, is understood to have invited the British, Dutch, Australian and United States ambassadors to the Juganji Shrine in Osaka for a ceremony on Monday.

But yesterday his office rescinded the invitations, apparently because of accusations that the event was not a genuine show of remorse but a stunt to soften his hawkish image and boost his campaign to succeed as prime minister when Junichiro Koizumi stands down in September.

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