North Korea criticizes Japanese PM

North Korea's media on Wednesday criticized Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to a controversial war shrine, calling it an "indiscreet act." The report from the North's Central Broadcasting Station, a radio network, was the first reaction by the communist state to Koizumi's visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on Monday. The visit has drawn criticism from neighboring countries, mostly China and South Korea, which view such visits as an attempt to whitewash Japan's militaristic past.

"On Oct. 17, Japan's leader carried out an indiscreet act of paying respect at Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of militarism, in spite of the unvarying opposition from the international community," said the North's broadcaster, monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency. The network, which did not identify Koizumi by name, reported that his visit is spurring strong protests and condemnations from neighboring countries and the international community.

It reported China issued a protest statement and summoned Japan's ambassador to Beijing to file a complaint.

The report, however, lacked the North's trademark vituperation. North Korea and Japan have been at odds in recent years over the communist state's abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 19, reports the AP. I.L.

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