Yasukuni Shrine, located in Tokyo, Japan, is dedicated to over 2,466,000 Japanese soldiers and servicemen who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan in the last 150 years. It also houses one of the few Japanese war museums dedicated to World War II.The shrine is at the center of an international controversy by honoring war criminals convicted by a post World War II court including 14 'Class A' war criminals. Japanese politicians, including prime ministers and cabinet members have paid visits to Yasukuni Shrine in recent years which caused criticism and protests from China, Korea, and Taiwan.
Policy chief of Japan's ruling party defends war shrine visits
Homages to war-crime convicts are an 'internal affair', lawmaker tells protesting neighbours
The policy chief of Japan's ruling party has vowed to keep paying homage at a controversial war shrine despite anger and diplomatic protests by China and South Korea.
Nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers made a pilgrimage last month to the Yasukuni shrine, a flashpoint in a bitter dispute between Japan and Asian neighbours which were victims of its 20th century militarism.
For foreign critics, the shrine is a stark reminder of Tokyo's brutal occupation of the Korean peninsula and imperialist expansion leading up to the second world war. Among the 2.5 million honoured there are 14 men convicted of war crimes by a United States-led tribunal after Japan's 1945 surrender.
Sanae Takaichi, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's policy affairs council, was one of the senior lawmakers who joined the April visit and yesterday defended the practice.
"It's an internal affair [of a nation] how to commemorate the people who sacrificed their lives for the national policy," Takaichi told NHK.
China agreed to the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs when Tokyo and Beijing established diplomatic ties in 1972, argued Takaichi, who also voiced doubt about a 1995 landmark statement Japan issued under then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, which acknowledged it followed "a mistaken national policy" and advanced along the road to war.
"I think no politician in today's Japan can tell us with confidence what was right in the international situation at that time," she said, adding that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might have different views on history from past Japanese governments which accepted the judgement of the post-war Tokyo tribunal.
Tokyo said last week it did not intend to backtrack on Japan's apologies over the war.