• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:55pm

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. 

NewsAsia
DIPLOMACY

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
 

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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
XINHUA COMMENTARY

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

babyhenry
I suppose they should act like the Americans and just start a war, just so they can proove their man hood eh?
gcmaster
Abe unnecessaily provoking neighbours, what is he thinking. Japan should focus on the economics but bring out old antagonism from War time era. Japan have $10 trillion debt and 20 years of stagnation and Abenomics is only a half success. I am starting to think Shinzo Abe is a moron.
lamlm38
Since he cant fix the economic he is trying divert ppl's attention to something else..
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.
andao
Yesterday the Chinese politburo visited the mausoleum of a man who killed 1 million South Koreans. By your definition, S. Korea isn't responding appropriately, right? I haven't seen any angry editorials in South Korean media. Every time Obama visits Arlington Cemetery, Vietnam, Germany, Italy, and Japan should all be outraged, right?
Or maybe that the rest of the world sans China and South Korea has actually grown up and realizes that the past is in the past.
lamlm38
Mao didnt send any SK to the gas chamber or murdered prisoner of wars.. those are the big difference!!! if your grandma were raped by some JPs and the rapist never bother to apologize how would you feel? I'm assuming that you are a human being here!!!!
sam.gillespie.184
You mean there are convicted American war criminals buried at Arlington?
andao
there are certainly war criminals buried at Arlington...the only reason they weren't convicted is because the US never had to surrender to anyone
ong.andre.5
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,,!!
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.

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