The new president of Japan's main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, has proposed that the names of 14 class-A war criminals be removed from the Yasukuni Shrine to minimise the diplomatic rifts that visits to the memorial cause, the South China Morning Post reported. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has visited the shrine annually since taking office in 2001, sparking violent criticism from China and South Korea. Ichiro Ozawa said the intention of the shrine, to honor 2.5 million war dead, was lost when the names of war criminals were added in the 1970s. Ozawa said they should not have been honored as they were executed in Japan. "If Yasukuni is back on form, I think a prime minister and the emperor could offer prayers there," said Ozawa. Yasukuni officials have previously said the names could easily be taken off the shrine, but the enshrinement ceremony could not be reversed and adherents of Shinto would still consider the shrine the resting place for the 14.