• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 12:36pm

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
JAPAN

Japanese minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine upset neighbours

Beijing protests after Japan's Internal Minister Yoshitaka Shindo prayed at the Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo on Saturday, an act guaranteed to cause resentment

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 April, 2014, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 April, 2014, 4:18am

A Japanese cabinet minister yesterday visited a Tokyo war shrine that honours executed war criminals in a move that could reignite tensions with Japan's neighbours ahead of US President Barack Obama's Asian tour.

China and South Korea immediately criticised the trip, with Beijing condemning the "mistaken attitude of the current Japanese cabinet towards history".

Television footage showed Yoshitaka Shindo, minister for internal affairs and communications, paying homage yesterday morning at the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan's war dead including several high-level officials executed for war crimes after the second world war.

Shindo insisted that it was a "private matter". Japan's foreign ministry said Shindo's grandfather had fought in the war, and that he had no intention of hurting the feelings of people in China or South Korea.

But South Korea called the visit a challenge to its neighbours.

"The Japanese cabinet member's visit … made again in defiance of the international worries, constitutes a head-on challenge to neighbouring countries," its foreign ministry said.

China had lodged solemn representations and protests with Japan, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Shindo's visit came as a bit of a surprise because conservative lawmakers usually make their visits to the shrine during one of several annual festivals.

But this year's April 21-23 spring festival partially overlaps with Obama's trip to Japan, who will be in the country on April 23 and 24.

The strained ties between Tokyo and Seoul, the two key US allies in Asia, are of deep concern for Washington.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Japan last week on an Asian tour seen as laying the groundwork for Obama's visit.

Professor Niu Zhongjun, of the China Foreign Affairs University, said Shindo's visit to the shrine was an individual act to gain political capital, and would not have any significant impact on relations between China and Japan.

Earlier yesterday, three Chinese government ships entered the territorial waters around the East China Sea islands, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China, for several hours, according to the Japanese coastguard.

Additional reporting by Minnie Chan, Associated Press

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This article is now closed to comments

darmisias
To understand why the Japanese pay their respects as the Yasukuni Shrine, you should read this published op-ed article: ****bit.ly/1omaNxI
Masako Owada
The Yasukuni War Shrine with it's symbol of Japanese militarism and ill will should be torn down. Anywhere Mr Abe goes it should be stated to him "Mr Abe, tear down the Yasukuni War Shrine". When Barack Obama visits Japan he should say to the psychopath Abe "Mr Abe, tear down the Yasukuni War Shrine".
virokick
When one is a politician - there's no such thing as a 'personal' visit. I wonder if he did these visits before he was in government. One can best honour the dead by promoting peace; not further stirring up sentiments in Japan and it's neighbours. If Japan wishes to resurrect the ghost of it's past - it has successfully done so. But unlike the past, today China has more guns and more money.
Abe compared Germany - England to Japan- China; if so, than acknowledges he is Hitler part -2.
In-fact an island( Diaoyu) is a small price to pay for an apology for war, what more forgoing some visit to a damn temple- in a nation of people who are not known for being religious.
The island belongs to Taiwan actually, reunification which will happen in time.
Do not curse the Japanese with impolite words and temper -all my blogger friends - we just play their game their way- bow , be polite , dignified but just built more aircraft carriers , missiles with nuclear warheads and submarines and built a stronger economy ; you will than get your war apology, no more shrine visits, truthful textbooks and they will than really bow to you than.
A Matsui
Japan used to have an official state Shinto religion with the emperor as a God. In Dec 15, 1945,
Douglas MacArthur ordered the abolishment of Shinto as Japanese state religion with the God Emperor losing his divine status. The emperor was just a political tool of the Japanese militarists although Hirohito was certainly a war criminal and should have been hanged by the Tokyo Tribunal. The religious foundation of Japan's aggression is the false Shinto religion with the Yasukuni War Shrine at the centre. So for any fascist, right-wing recalcitrant Japanese, praying to war-criminals at the Yasukuni War Shrine is a must including the likes of Shinzo Abe and the members of the LDP. Douglas MacArthur made a mistake in abolishing Shinto as a State Religion. As viceroy of Japan he should have hanged Hirohito, banned the false Shinto religion and torn down the Yasukuni War shrine as well. Failure to do so is the US failure to discharge her duties to clean up fascism in Japan.The next time Japan make an unconditional surrender, the occupying authorities should do what Douglas MacArthur failed to do.
XYZ
Oh, I see. It's all the fault of the Americans. Again. Well, at least that's something that the Chinese and Japanese can agree on.
andreaswagner
Don't interfere in Japan's internal affairs.
A Matsui
Go jump off a cliff.
shuike
Who's interfering? This is Japanese against Japanese.
ianhuayensee
It is ironic that despite the Japanese culture being so deeply influenced by Mahayana Buddhist/Confucius teachings, the Japanese politicians never have the courage and humility to admit their wrong doings during WWII, particularly the invasion of China which brought about the brutal deaths of millions of people. Apart from this, slaughtering whale cloaked in the name of scientific research is also an act which is so un-Buddhistic. Is repentance so difficult? Is remorse impossible? Is starting afresh like the Germans did a degradation of human character? We earn respect out of humility, we can't demand it, notwithstanding that you have lots of money, which the Japanese do. I utterly respect the Germans for their unreserved atonement of the holocaust, arising from which I do not recall any prominent German politicians denying the slaughter of the Jews. They rebuilt the then West Germany not out of ashes, but out of modesty and humility. Today the Germans are rich and they never forget the lessons from the holocaust. It is in the constitution. The Japanese arrogance is the single biggest factor as to why their relationship with other Asian nations is at best cordial, at worst confrontational. Wisdom transcends intelligence, obviously the Japanese politicians have a sad lack of the former.
Jonathan Smith
A pertinent question that the world would ask is whether Japanese interior minister Yoshitaka Shindo a habitual war criminal worshipper at the Yasukuni War Shrine is even fit for his job. Seems like a lot of Japanese LDP members Shinzo Abe included are psychopaths.

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