China, S. Korea angered by Japan PM’s involvement with war shrine
24 Apr 2022, 18:58 GMT+10
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent ritual offerings to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead this week, drawing condemnation from neighbouring China and South Korea
- Several other political leaders also visited the shrine in person
- While many Japanese pay respects to relatives at Yasukuni, past visits and offerings by officials have provoked anger from neighboring Asian countries
TOKYO, Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent ritual offerings to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead this week, drawing condemnation from neighbouring China and South Korea.
Several other political leaders also visited the shrine in person.
The shrine, which honors 2.5 million war dead, including 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals, is considered by China, South Korea and other countries as a symbol of Japanese aggression before and during World War Two.
While many Japanese pay respects to relatives at Yasukuni, past visits and offerings by officials have provoked anger from neighboring Asian countries.
Following the example of previous Japanese leaders, Kishida refrained from visiting in person during the spring and autumn festivals, instead sending offerings, as was the case this week.
Chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s top government spokesman, declined to comment on the matter.
However, after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and current ruling Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Sanae Takaichi visited the shrine,
South Korea expressed “deep disappointment and regret.”
In a statement, South Korea’s foreign ministry said, “Japan’s responsible leaders have once again sent offerings to and paid respects at the Yasukuni Shrine, which glorifies Japan’s history of war of aggression and enshrines war criminals.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said offerings and visits to the shrine “reflect Japan’s incorrect attitude towards its own history of aggression.”
In his regular briefing, Wenbin said, “The Chinese side urges the Japanese side to earnestly keep its promises, reflect and face up to its history of aggression, completely cut itself off from militarism, and win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community with practical actions.”
Tokyo’s relations with its neighbors, who suffered under Japan’s brutal occupation and colonial rule before its defeat in 1945, have been strained by what they consider Japan’s reluctance to atone for its wartime record.
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