Yasukuni protesters due back home today

Local | Charlotte Luo 11 Oct 2019

Two Hong Kong activists are to be deported from Japan soon after they were convicted of protesting outside Japan's Yasukuni Shrine last year.

A court in Tokyo yesterday convicted Alex Kwok Siu-kit and Yim Man-wa of trespassing and sentenced them to suspended prison terms of eight months and six months.

Japan media reported the magistrate as saying their behavior had damaged the peaceful environment of a religious place and that people are forbidden from entering the shrine unless it is for a commemoration. The pair's behavior violated the shrine's management rights.

The two, members of the Hong Kong-based activist group Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, had been detained by Japanese authorities since December after they set fire to a symbolic ancestral tablet outside the shrine.

The notorious shrine in Tokyo honors more than a dozen Japanese convicted of war crimes in World War II.

Kwok and Yim were demanding an apology from Shinzo Abe's government for the Nanjing Massacre in December 1937 after the Japanese invasion. China estimates Japanese soldiers killed over 300,000 people.

The committee said Japan's immigration officials are making deportation arrangements for Kwok and Yim.

Vice chairman Au Pak-kuen said Kwok and Yim could be back today. The committee would send someone to receive them at the airport.

He said Kwok and Yim did not express remorse in court, but he understood that it was a tough time for them to be separated from their families during their detention.

The committee sends people with a petition every December before the anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. It will submit a petition to the consulategGeneral of Japan in Hong Kong this year and protest against Japan's militarism and slaughtering of Chinese, Au said.

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