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  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 1:19am

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 turns Abe Yasakuni visit into a public relations battle on world's opinion pages

Co-ordinated editorial-writing campaign seeks to sway overseas opinion against Japan and portray China as reasonable party in diplomatic row

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 4:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 9:13am

Beijing has orchestrated an international media campaign to condemn Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit last month to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.

The Chinese government did not take strong concrete actions against Tokyo other than suspending cultural exchanges, but its overseas ambassadors have penned articles in more than 40 foreign publications since the shrine visit on December 26, a tactic seen as exerting international pressure on Tokyo.

Video: Japan PM Abe's controversial war shrine visit

The war of words broke out after China's ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, likened Japan to the villainous Lord Voldemort of Harry Potter fame in The Daily Telegraph on New Year's Day. Japan's envoy to London, Keiichi Hayashi, hit back with an article in the same newspaper titled "China risks becoming Asia's Voldemort" four days later.

Their debate continued in a BBC Newsnight episode on January 8, even though the two diplomats did not meet face to face.

China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, is one of the latest senior diplomats to condemn Abe in writing. In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Friday, Cui called the Abe administration's effort to accelerate Japan's military build-up and attempt to amend its pacifist constitution "disconcerting".

"[Abe] has said that his changes to Japan's constitutional military posture would only make Japan a 'normal country'. Is he suggesting that the peaceful path Japan has followed is not normal?" Cui wrote.

Professor Lian Degui, of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said Beijing was seeking international empathy by framing the shrine visit as a destabilising gesture to regional peace.

"Beijing is well aware that Tokyo does not take heed of what China and South Korea think, but how the international community perceives Abe," Lian said. "By referring to the past, nations that participated in the second world war will be more inclined to side with those who suffered during the war."

China's ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai, wrote in The Globe & Mail on Saturday that both China and Canada "share a common responsibility" against fascism. More than 500 Canadian soldiers died helping top defend Hong Kong during the Japanese invasion during the second world war, he wrote.

Song Zhe, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' commissioner in Hong Kong, wrote in Saturday's South China Morning Post that the shrine visit was not only a sensitive issue in Japan, but also to the international community.

Professor Niu Zhongjun, of the China Foreign Affairs University, said that by mounting an international media campaign instead of threatening to cut back ties with Tokyo, China was portraying itself as rational and level-headed.

"It shows that China is willing to discuss the issue, and let the international community understand [the issues] more," he said.


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This article is now closed to comments

Jonathan Smith
By 1945, Japan looted from the conquered Asian countries an astronomical sum estimated at 100 Billion USD. The damage that Japan inflicted was estimated at 50 million deaths and 10 trillion USD in damages. For that Japan paid not a cent in reparation. The tiny amount of so-called ODS that Japan provided to some Asian countries was a tiny amount of the 100 Billion USD loot in 1945 dollars they stole. Japan really comes across as a bloodsucker country.
Japan policy of steal all, kill all and burn all and the looting of 100 Billion USD from Asian countries.
China's whining and nobody's listening. Good.
Jonathan Smith
And you are whining on behalf of your Japanese evil Japanese forefathers (maybe just adopted) and nobody is listening. Phui indeed!
What the Japanese deserve now is for another nuke dropped on them and this time, hopefully it first drops right on Abe's front door along with all the other rest of his politicians that stand behind him............the Japanese people are still sick to the core since WWII and so let's just hope that karma will tear them down piece by piece in the years to come.
Jonathan Smith
Two nukes in 1945, Fukushima in 2011 and what have the **** learned? Nothing. It will take a lot more to extinguish fascism and racial hatred in Japan.
"Co-ordinated editorial-writing campaign seeks to sway overseas opinion against Japan and portray China as reasonable party in diplomatic row.'
What bias prose, SCMP. Shame on you. What "reasonable party?" Did you mean China was unreasobale in protesting against Abe's antics?
Korea and Russia immediately protested over the incident. Even its closest ally the US issued an immediate statement, bravo Caroline.

Many in SEA countries of every race also suffered terribly because of what these Japanese fascists did during WW2. These fascists are of the same color as Hitler's Nazis, you don't see Angela Merkel staging annual shows at their graves. Abe, no doubt, is trying to divert attention at home from pressing issues like a tepid economy, but he is straying further and further away from the Potsdam Convention. The footage of Japanese soldiers parachuting from their helicopters a few days ago is a scary reminder of WW2 days when millions invaded China, South Korea, SEA and the South Seas. Australia was next had it not been stopped.
Why didn't China protest as fervently before 1985? Because its own house was not in order! Even if did, no one would pay heed. Now that it does, we get articles like the above, orchestrated biasly against it. Shame on you, Teddy Ng!
M Miyagi
In 1978 14 class A war-criminals including Hideki Tojo (Chief war-criminal incompetent enough and cowardly enough to botch own harakiri) was secretly enshrined in the Yasukuni War Shrine. The Japanese Emperor hence refuses to visit the evil place. Japanese leaders visiting the Yasukuni War Shrine since were doing so under a cloud of condemnation. Also by acting against the wishes and example of the Japanese Emperor, the Japanese fascists including Shinzo Abe proved their disloyalty and dishonourable behaviour. The Japanese war-criminals and fascists not only perpetrated barbaric atrocities against the peoples of Asia but also betrayed their own ideals on state Shintoism and caused the death of millions of Japanese. This is not only moral bankruptcy but political bankruptcy. Japanese fascists are liars and evil monsters, lying to the US government just before the sneak attack on Pearl harbour, lying about their barbaric war history after their total defeat and unconditional surrender in 1945. The Cairo Declaration (under the Potsdam Declaration) which Japan promises to accept and implement under the instrument of surrender was not implemented in full. Japan breaks the surrender terms and is now trying to overturn the international order. Japan under the fascists is an international pariah and have no future.
According to historical accounts, when the Class A Japanese war-criminals were about to be hanged they exhibited a lot of cowardice. Hideki Tojo was crying like a baby, the other war-criminals were trembling and shaking shitting on their pants. Like all the Japanese fascists and rightists like Shinzo Abe, these monsters were very brave when it comes to committing barbaric atrocities and ordering the death of millions. But when it comes to their trun to face justice, these monsters were worse than the pitiful comfort-women they raped and murdered. That's the essence of State Shintoism and Bushido, extreme cruelty to the weak and helpless but in the face of superior firepower and justice are just a bunch of cowardly mongrels. No wonder these bunch of mongrels lost WWII and got atom bombed by the USA. A people without remorse, kindness and respect for others will be forever condemned.
"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" - Mao Tse Tung
All countries and politicians recognise that fact. China and Japan are now testing and jostling each others political power so we should not be surprised to see military power thrown into the debate.
Takeshi  Togo
Bewteen 1978 and 1985, three Japanese Prime Ministers paid a total of 21 visits to Yasukuni Shrine and China did not raise any objection at all. During those seven years, these three Japanese Prime Ministers visited China and were all welcomed. China did not say anyting about Yasukuni visit. Also during those years, Chinese leaders like Deng Xiao Ping, Hua Guofeng, Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang visited Japan and none of them said anything about Yasukuni. China has not given any explanation as to why it started to complain about Yasukuni in 1985. When he was young studying in Japan, Zhou En-lai visited Yasukuni Shrine on 30th April 1918 and he wrote in his diary on the following day that he was very much impressed with the on-going spring festival(看了深受感動).




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