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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 11:29pm

Yasukuni Shrine

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. 


Beijing and Seoul furious at Shinzo Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine

Japanese PM rebuked by coalition partner and the US after stoking tensions with neighbours

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 December, 2013, 10:05am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 12:12pm


  • Yes: 29%
  • No: 71%
27 Dec 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 328

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shrine yesterday that honours Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals, infuriating China and South Korea and prompting a rare expression of concern from the US about deteriorating ties between the East Asian neighbours.

Instead of a pledge against war … the visit is a calculated provocation

China's Foreign Ministry called the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine a "brazen" act and later summoned Japan's ambassador to Beijing to express "strong opposition" to the visit.

"Japan must bear full responsibility for the serious political consequences," Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as telling the Japanese ambassador.

A Xinhua commentary said: "Choosing a sensitive time to visit a highly controversial and notorious place, Abe knows perfectly what he is doing and the consequences. Instead of a pledge against war, as Abe has claimed, the visit is a calculated provocation to stoke further tension."

South Korea called Abe's visit "anachronistic behaviour".

"We can't help deploring and expressing anger at the prime minister's visit," Seoul's culture minister Yoo Jin-ryong said.

Television carried live video of Abe's motorcade making its way to the shrine, which honours Japan's 2.5 million war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals from the second world war. Abe bowed before following a Shinto priest into an inner sanctum.

A conservative who took office for a second term one year ago, Abe said criticism that visits to Yasukuni were an act of worshipping war criminals was based on a misunderstanding.

"Unfortunately, a Yasukuni visit has largely turned into a political and diplomatic issue," he said. "It is not my intention to hurt the feelings of the Chinese and Korean people."

Watch: Japan PM Abe visits Yasukuni war shrine

The US embassy in Tokyo said it was "disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions". It said the US "hopes that both Japan and its neighbours will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past".

The head of Abe's coalition partner, the Buddhist-backed New Komeito - which had urged him not to make the pilgrimage - called the visit regrettable.

The Japanese embassy in Beijing warned its nationals to stay away from demonstrations and not congregate in big groups.

A meeting between Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and Japanese lawmakers scheduled for yesterday in Beijing was cancelled. But Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the visit was a personal matter.

Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse


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This article is now closed to comments

Jonathan Smith
Japanese PM Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is a message of hatred to the world. It is stating in no uncertain terms that Japan have no remorse about the immense suffering that Japanese atrocities caused in Asia such as the Colonisation of Korea and Taiwan, invasion of China and South East Asia as well as the Pacific War in which thousands of allied POWs were butchered. Just like the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 it will live in infamy forever. This is a horrendous message of hatred to the world and should be condemned in the strongest term possible. Japanese democracy have been hijacked by right-wing extremists and the path that Japan takes from now on is fraught with danger not only for the rest of the world but for Japan itself. If ordinary Japanese can see what their elected leaders are embarking on, they should stop them before it is too late. Adolf Hitler was also elected in a democratic process but the outcome have been disastrous for the world. Japanese democracy is now threatened by similar calamity in which the democratic process is being high-jacked by extremists. Shinzo Abe could be another Adolf Hitler.
M Miyagi
Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is very controversial because 14 Class A war criminals including Hideki Tojo are interred there. It is very likely to do great damage to the relationship with Korea and China, not to say other countries that were victims of Japanese aggression. Anybody decent human being condemn this affront to humanity. Those commenters using this sad occasion to attack the Chinese and Koreans are not only provocateurs but are scums and low-lifes. These people should be put out of their misery. If you can't be a human being you should go to hell!
Max Diethelm
Obviously the standard of decent behaviour in Europe and Asia are very different. If the chancellor of Germany were to go to a shrine of some sort to pay homage to anything with any links to Nazism, Europe, the Jews and the Americas will be in uproar. The condemnation would have been swift, severe and widespread. Fortunately Chancellor Merkel is a very decent human being with no fascism in her blood and would never do such a terrible thing. That Shinzo Abe the Prime Minister of Japan can go to the Yasukuni Shrine to pay homage to the Japanese war dead including the 14 war-criminals hanged by the Allied War Tribunal and not cause widespread uproar in Asia is surprising. Only China and Korea seem to have responded appropriately to this act of provocation. Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Phillipines, Myammar etc., which also suffered greatly because Japanese aggression don't seem to be reacting with outrage. It seems only the Koreas and China have the moral courage to stand up against Japanese barbarism.
A Kuro
Your distortion of facts just prove what an idiot your are. Using your logic you can also say that Japanese leaders caused the death of millions of Japanese in WWII. No doubt all the Japanese deaths after WWII can also be blamed on Japanese leaders including the Fukushima disaster. By hating the Chinese and saying such nonsense only prove that you are something less than human!
M Miyagi
If you are not a coward and low-life go to China and repeat the nonsense you say. At best you will be put into a mental institution. Maybe you should be enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine.
It's likely this Abe guy thinks he's "high" enough to keep provoking the Chinese and other Asian communities by visiting the shrine at his own free will, to worship those who caused endless pain for so many people during WWII. If he cannot even realize this, then I think it's really time to drop another nuke on Japan, and this time, hope they drop it right onto the shrine.
Jonathan Smith
You seem to be so fascinated by the evil represented by the Yasukuni Shrine. Your strange and sinister views on Mao and the Japanese inverts logic on the head. If you are so lucky as to get yourself enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine in the company of the 14 Class A War-criminals, Mr Abe will only too happy to pray to you too. What a great honour for you and your country!
Normal people goes to Churches, Mosques or Temples to pray for good tidings especially on days like Boxing Day. Japanese fascists politicians including Shinzo Abe and members of the LDP goes to the Yasukuni War Shrine to pray to war-criminals. This is a form of Devil Worship. Shinzo Abe maternal grand father is a class A war criminal. After the Japanese unconditional surrender in 1945, the USA occupying forces failed to purge Japan of the fascism. This is why Japanese till this day do not take responsibility for their brutal and genocidal behaviour in the past. Japanese fascists have disavowed the suffering and massive destruction they caused in Asia like the Rape of Nanking in with 300,000 people were slaughtered or the hundred of thousands of women forced to become sex-slaves or comfort-women. They continuously insult the memory of Japanese victims. They claimed to have "liberated" Asia from colonialism by the white man but instead caused even more destruction. Japan launched the loot all, kill all and burn all war policy in Asia and by the end of 1945 just before the Atomic Bombings of Japan have looted an estimated 100 Billion USD (in 1945 dollars equivalent to 10 Trillion dollars in today terms) in gold, silver and other precious things like diamonds. Japanese lack of atonement for the invasion in Asia and for causing WWII makes Japan a recalcitrant country bordering on being uncivilised. Shinzo Abe and the LDP are fascists. Democracy in Japan is a farce.
The British poisoned China with opium, the whole government became a complete decrepit.....so come another greedy one taking advantage of the shambles thought they could takeover. This kind of greed cannot go unpunished ....if it is not admitted, and repented.
Millions died by this greed....especially Nanking, where many were Buried ALIVE,,!!
You know, American soldiers fought the Japanese as well. And each year to commemorate Pearl Harbour, veterans of both armies stand side by side. American POWs were similarly subjected to the brutality of the Imperial Japanese army. But only amongst Asian countries are old feuds from hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, continue to get dredged up and provoke nationalistic outrage. There's definitely something to be said for Asian countries - they'll never let go of a grudge.



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