Former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung has been denied entry to Japan, after he landed in Tokyo on Sunday to attend a trial of two Hong Kong activists.

Activists Alex Kwok Siu-kit and Yim Man-wa were charged with trespassing following a protest at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine last December. Kwok set a prop on fire representing a spirit tablet of Tojo Hideki – a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, who is honoured at the shrine. Yim shot a video on the site, as they demanded that Japan take responsibility for the Nanjing Massacre.

Leung Kwok-hung
Leung Kwok-hung. Photo: LSD.

The first session of the trial for the pair was conducted earlier this month. The pair were scheduled to appear at the second session of the trial on Tuesday in Japan, which has a conviction rate of over 99 per cent.

Between 50,000 and 300,000 Chinese were killed, and tens of thousands of women raped, as Japanese troops tore through Nanjing in late 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Leung flew to Tokyo on Sunday afternoon. When he arrived that evening at Haneda Airport, he was barred from entry and deported back to Hong Kong.

He said some people had criticised the two activists for protesting in Japan, but he believed the protest was very reasonable: “After [former leader] Koizumi Junichiro visited the Yasukuni Shrine to honour war criminals, the Japanese government has no shame,” he said during a Facebook Live broadcast on Monday.

Leung Kwok-hung
Leung Kwok-hung (centre). Photo: LSD.

Leung told Ming Pao that when he arrived in Tokyo at 9:45pm on Sunday, he declared on his immigration card that he had a criminal record because of past protests. He said he was then questioned by immigration officers and was asked to reveal his itinerary, which he refused to do. He was deported afterwards.

Leung said he had thought of filing a complaint to the Japanese justice minister, but an immigration officer told him he would not be able to leave the airport for three days whilst a response was prepared. Leung, instead, gave up and returned to Hong Kong.

Yasukuni Shrine tokyo
Yasukuni Shrine. File Photo: HKFP.

He said the recent terror attack in New Zealand, which left 50 dead, shocked the whole world, but the Japanese army killed even more people during the Nanjing Massacre: “The actions to demand responsibility will not stop until Japan apologises and pays compensation for its invasion of China,” he added.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.