Top Court Rejects Free Land Provision to Naha Temple
Tokyo, Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)--The Supreme Court's Grand Bench ruled Wednesday that it was unconstitutional for the city government of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, to provide a site in a city-managed park free of charge to a group for a Confucian temple.
At dispute in the case was whether the free provision violated the principle of separation of politics and religion under the Constitution.
The top court recognized a violation of the constitutional principle for the third time, after its 1997 ruling on a lawsuit over Ehime prefectural government's payment for ritual offerings to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine and its 2010 decision on a lawsuit over a free land lease to Sorachibuto shrine in Hokkaido.
In the latest ruling, the Supreme Court deemed that the city government's exemption for the Confucian facility from land usage fees was a religious activity banned by the Constitution.
The top court acknowledged religious aspects of the Confucian facility, citing a statute of Confucius placed inside it attracting many worshippers and a ritual ceremony held there to mark the birthday of Confucius.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]