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Think tank urges Shinzo Abe to stay away from Yasukuni Shrine

Think tank also chides China for raising tension in islands row with Japan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 11:48pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 11:48pm
 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should stay away from a controversial Tokyo war shrine, an international think tank said, as it offered ideas on defusing mounting Sino-Japanese tensions.

In a new report, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last December "triggered a bitter argument as to whether Japan has fully atoned for its second world war aggression, a still vivid sore in the region".

The Brussels-based group also chided China for asserting greater authority over regional airspace, a move that it said "deepened Tokyo's anxiety that Beijing desires both territory and to alter the regional order".

"China should calm anti-Japan rhetoric, delink wartime history from the islands dispute and open senior political channels to Japan," said the group's China analyst, Yanmei Xie, referring to a territorial dispute between both countries in the East China Sea. "Japan should avoid actions and comments suggesting revisionist history views."

The report comes as Sino-Japanese relations have reached their lowest point in years. It also comes weeks ahead of the August 15 anniversary of Japan's 1945 defeat, a date many politicians in Tokyo mark by visiting Yasukuni, where 14 top war criminals are enshrined.

China and South Korea see the shrine as a symbol of what they say is Tokyo's unwillingness to repent for its wartime aggression last century. The US tries to discourage visits.

Abe, who drew condemnation from Seoul and Beijing with his December 26 trip to the shrine, has not indicated whether he plans to make a return visit next month. The conservative prime minister stayed away during a visit by nearly 150 Japanese lawmakers in April.

In its report, ICG warned that both countries should "refrain from escalatory actions" near the Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkakus by Japan.

"China should refrain from chasing Japanese fishing vessels and send no aircraft, including drones, into the airspace above or near the islands," it said, adding that there had been "repeated close calls" as a result of Beijing's willingness to "take risks to keep foreign vessels and aircraft away from its fleets".

"Leadership in both countries needs to set a tone that prioritises diplomacy to calm the troubled waters," it said.

This week the US, India and Japan are set to begin week-long war games in the Pacific.

Warships from the three countries are to begin the joint exercises today, after yesterday's official opening ceremony at the Sasebo naval base in Japan.

Known as the Malabar Exercise, the annual event usually involves India and the US, but Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force will take part this year, for the third time since 2007.


Japan must atone further for 'comfort women', says Yohei Kono, who gave 1993 apology

Japan has failed to atone sufficiently for its actions in the second world war, said a former foreign minister who wrote a famous 1993 apology over its armed forces' use of sex slaves in wartime.

"They are insufficient," Yohei Kono, 77, said when asked about the apologies expressed to date by his nation's officials. "This is because the people who suffered and have extremely painful memories aren't saying they are sufficient."

Kono, a former senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, also criticised moves by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to ease limits on Japan's military and defence industry. He said an election should have been held on Abe's decision to alter the interpretation of the pacifist constitution.

Kono is renowned for a 1993 statement he made as the government's top spokesman apologising for the Japanese military's abuse of women, known as "comfort women", during the war. Then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama made what is regarded as the clearest apology for the war as a whole in 1995.

Bloomberg

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This article is now closed to comments

Rambo
Japan not only failed to atone for Japan's barbarous war history and massive war crimes, Japanese leaders glorified their war history and continue to occupy the Diaoyu Islands which is Chinese territory and refuses to negotiate over it. Shinzo Abe, the war criminal worshipping **** leader of a revisionist Japan should be condemned.
baysidedweller
"ICG warned that both countries should "refrain from escalatory actions" near the Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkakus by Japan."
Japan unilaterally nationalized the islands in 2012, China is only responding to Japan's action. To "calm" the waters in that region, Abe needs to be willing to negotiate on the sovereignty of the disputed islands, which Abe had steadfastly refused. ICG should have urged Abe to do that specifically in the report.
jayb
only white people came up with a report like this.. telling the world to disregard HISTORY ("delink wartime history"). HISTORY is prologue to everything TODAY. one canNOT delink one's heart from one's own body. Japan can no more "delink" from its history (thus the trips to Yasukuni shrine which majority of japanese people support) as China from her own (reclaiming Diayu/Senkaku, also supported by majority of chinese including those in HongKong who may object to Beijing). this applies to white people also, all the regional animosities in europe today dates back to thousand years history....only white people try to impose a value on others when they could not even hold the same principle themselves....
another THINK tank not thinking....
raglan
I'm hoping Abe goes again to the Yashittcumi Shine - the more right wing, militant and revisionist Abe remains, the easier it is to isolate Japan.
Daniel Lee
Japan is an immoral, lawless, unfriendly country without a future.
Dao-Phooy
ICG is a 'think tank'? Anybody on the street knows Abe and the Japanese government should not visit the Yasukuni Shrine. Abe is a right wing goon who glorifies in the Japanese atrocities during WWII and persists in viewing Japan as some pathetic victim rather than as a vicious aggressor, and enslaver of men women and children. Quite frankly, if the Americans (now siding with these goons) had not dropped the atom bomb then Japan would never have surrendered.
M Miyagi
The International Crisis Group (ICG) urging Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to stay away from the Yasukuni War Shrine and to stop devil worship is like asking his evil forefathers to refrain from looting, raping, killing and burning. It's like asking the evil, dishonourable and uncivilised Japanese to stop raping the comfort-women or sex-slaves when they have total control over these unfortunate woman and girls. The only way to stop these **** is to castrate them instead of allowing them to go on rampage again like what the irresponsible US is doing by encouraging the re-militarism of Japan. However, if Japan continues it's evil ways, it will only end up being utterly destroyed.
lib_hk

China is starting to take the emotion out of this. The better approach is to focus on seeking redress for its citizens who suffered under Japan's aggression in a dispassionate manner. There are international tribunals where such cases can be brought against Japan. There is no point to beg Japan to atone for its war crimes; if Japan fails to atone, it can be demonstrated that its karma will be affected. Therefore whether Japan atones or not is a purely Japanese problem not a Chinese problem.
Paradox314
You have misread the statement. It suggests China 'delink' (not connect in a way that implies any cause-effect relationship) between the issue of war-crimes responsibility / repentance and the current territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands. History itself is not to be delinked - only these 2 concerns. This makes good sense because there is no obvious direct relationship between the 2 concerns. China links them together to gain domestic support for a stronger military stance toward the dispute. But this is illegitimate and dangerous.

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