Japanese defense chief visits a war shrine

Japan's defense minister visited Tokyo's shrine on Friday to pray for war dead, just days before Japan marks the 76th anniversary its defeat in World War II.

The shrine honours war criminals among the approximately 2.5 million war victims who were convicted during the first half century. This is a symbol of Japanese militarism for many, including the Koreans and China.

"It's only natural for every country to pay respects the spirits of war dead," declared Nobuo Kishi (the younger brother of Shinzo Abe's former Prime Minister), who is well-known for denials about wartime atrocities.

After offering prayers, Kishi stated that he had expressed his reverence and paid respect to all those who died fighting for their country. "I also renewed my pledge to end war and resolved to protect the lives of the people and their peaceful livelihood."

Since December 2016, when Abe protégé Tomomi Inada visited Yasukuni, he is the first defense minister to visit Yasukuni.

After a 2013 visit that sparked outrage from China, Koreas and Japan, Abe avoided the shrine for seven long years. However, he has been returning to the shrine regularly since his resignation as prime minister last January.

Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan, donated a religious ornament to Yasukuni's spring festival in April. However, he did not visit the shrine.

Yasutoshi Nishura, the minister of economy and fiscal policy, paid a separate visit to the shrine on Friday. He is also in charge for pandemic measures.

South Korea and China have condemned Japanese leaders' visits to the shrine and asked them to confront and reflect on Japan’s wartime aggression.

Many South Koreans are bitter about Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. Recent years have seen the lowest level of relations between Seoul and Tokyo due to disagreements over compensation for Korean wartime-forced labor and the sexual abuse of "comfort girls" by Japanese military.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry stated that it summoned Kishi's deputy chief of mission at Japan's Embassy in Seoul to protest his visit to Yasukuni. The site was described by the ministry as "beautifying Japan's past colonial rule, war of aggression, and honors war crimes." Seoul's Defense Ministry issued a statement expressing its regret and concern about Kishi's visit.

Previous Post Next Post