Adam Walker, BNP staff manager, should not have visited the Yasukuni shrine during his visit to Japan, representing, as he was, the British National Party in an official capacity.
To quote Mr Walker's own words, which may also be seen reported in an article on the party web site, http://www.bnp.org.uk/, "We realize terrible things happened in the war on both sides and we do not condone them. We are simply here to show the Japanese people that we have respect for their culture, traditions, and values".
Mr Walker's statement is tantamont to an exoneration of the Japanese nation in respect of the atrocities perpetrated by their armed forces during World War II. Note the way in which Mr Walker seeks to exculpate the Japanese, his hosts on the junket, from their war guilt, by saying that "...terrible things happened in the war on both sides...". It is as if Mr Walker believed that we, the British, and our Commonwealth and American allies, were in some unspecified way equally as guilty as the Japanese.
Mr Walker, a former teacher, speaks Japanese it seems. I have no reason to believe that he is other than an intelligent man, which makes his behaviour all the more blameworthy, since, presumably, he would have fully understood the significance of what he was doing when he visited the Yasukuni shrine, and made the statement quoted above.
Visiting the Yasukuni shrine was an odd way to show the Japanese people that the BNP has "...respect for their culture, traditions, and values", since even the Japanese prime minister, Naoto Kan, refuses to visit the shrine because, in his own words "As Class-A war criminals are enshrined there, an official visit by the prime minister or cabinet members is problematic". This is a polite Japanese way of saying that it is impolitic to do honour to the memory of war criminals, even of one's own nation.
They were criminals indeed.
Murder, massacres, death marches, rape, mutilation, human vivisection, and cannibalism were all perpetrated by members of the Japanese armed forces, and countenanced by the High Command, and home government. The mass murder of British troops by starvation and forced labour that turned tens of thousands of healthy men into emaciated invalids, was intentional military and governmental policy.
Mr Walker should learn one thing, if nothing else, from his Japanese hosts: that one's first loyalty is to one's own nation.
It is a great pity that he does not appear to know this.