Yasukuni Shrine

Vikrant

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It seems inevitable that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday will make the already chilled relationships with China and South Korea even colder.

Abe has yet to hold a summit meeting with leaders of the two nations since the launch of his second Cabinet about a year ago, and still has no prospect of having them.

Some government officials worry it may also have a negative impact on Japan-U.S. relations.

“It is important to show our veneration for those who gave their precious lives to the nation,” said Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during a press conference after the Cabinet meeting on Thursday morning. “Visiting Yasukuni Shrine is a matter of personal emotions. We should avoid making it into an issue of politics or diplomacy.”

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters at a press conference: “The trilateral relationship between Japan, the United Sates and South Korea is important. We will make our utmost efforts to keep cooperative ties and exchanges of opinions between the defense authorities of Japan, the United States and South Korea.”

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba said at the party’s headquarters, “It is possible to prevent it [Abe’s visit to Yasukuni] from developing into a diplomatic issue if we make clear the prime minister’s intention, which is expressing his veneration for those who died for our country and consoling their souls.”

“I hope China and South Korea will calmly respond to the matter,” he added.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Japan President Banri Kaieda told reporters at the Diet building on Thursday afternoon, “The prime minister may have his personal feelings, but one in such a position has no individual or private aspects to his life. He should have been prudent to draw a line separating himself from the past.”

Abe did not visit the shrine during his first term in 2006-07, which he described as his “deepest regret.” He has been carefully seeking an opportunity to visit the shrine since the launch of his second Cabinet.

However, both China and South Korea are taking tough stances against Japan due to issues including the standoff over the Senkaku Islands and so-called comfort women.

Because it was almost certain his visit to Yasukuni Shrine would draw criticism from China and South Korea, Abe avoided visiting the shrine at annual festivals in spring and autumn, as well as on Aug. 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II. Instead, he sent an offering of a masakaki tree branch to the shrine.

However, China still criticized Abe, saying that his making the ritual offering was a “roundabout visit” to the shrine and tantamount to an actual visit. The South Korean Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, expressed “deep concern and regret” over the issue.

Since his considerately tactful approach went unappreciated, a government source said, “[Abe] thought it would be better to visit the shrine according to his beliefs, if he cannot expect any improvement in relations with China and South Korea anyway.”

The Japanese government, however, is paying close attention to any possible negative impact that Abe’s visit to the shrine could cause on Japan-U.S. relations.

The U.S. government has often asked the Japanese government to urge Abe to refrain from visiting the shrine, saying the visit may raise tensions in East Asia. This is apparently because Washington believes cooperation with Japan and South Korea is indispensable amid increasing military threats by China and North Korea.

During their visit to Japan in October, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel went to the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery for the war dead and offered flowers. Some observers say they indicated to Abe that he should not visit Yasukuni Shrine.

The Japanese government plans to shortly explain Abe’s intentions behind visiting the shrine to the U.S. side.

Visit raises concern over U.S. relations - The Japan News
 

bianco

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Yasukuni war shrine: what is its importance? - Telegraph

Yasukuni war shrine: what is its importance?


Its role was subsequently expanded. Adherents to Japan's native religion of Shintoism believe the souls of 2.5 million departed ancestors who died in Japan's wars up to and including World War II are enshrined there, with their names and other personal details recorded.

Although it was stripped of its state sponsorship by allied occupiers in 1945, it retains a powerful pull and was visited on eight occasions by wartime emperor Hirohito until 1975.

But unlike Arlington, Yasukuni peddles a view of history that many find unpalatable. The attached museum portrays Japan more as a victim of US aggression in WWII and makes scant reference to the extreme brutality of invading Imperial troops when they stormed through Asia - especially China and Korea - in the 20th century.

Significantly, 14 World War II leaders - including army general and prime minister Hideki Tojo - who were indicted as "Class-A" war criminals by an international military tribunal, were secretly added to the Yasukuni honour list in 1978. This only became public knowledge the following year.


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Of course.
Why is anyone surprised?

The Japanese government plans to shortly explain Abe’s intentions behind visiting the shrine to the U.S. side.

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Should be 'fun'.


Yes, barbaric Japan, tortured millions to death...butchered 'half' of Asia, machine gunned Aussie nurses in the back...that's Japan's go, not much good fighting men, only good at raping and bashing/murdering defenceless women.

Sandakan Death Marches - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Bangka Island Massacre, February 1942

The Bangka Island Massacre, February 1942

Black day in the history of Imperial Japanese Army

Having separated the men from the women prisoners, the Japanese divided the men into two groups, and marched them along the beach and behind a headland. The nurses heard a quick succession of shots before the Japanese soldiers came back, sat down in front of the women and cleaned their bayonets and rifles. A Japanese officer, smaller and more "nattily" dressed than his men, instructed the nurses to walk from the palm-fringed Radjik Beach into the sea until they were waist deep in the waves. A couple of soldiers shoved those who were slow to respond. Twenty-two nurses and one civilian woman walked into the waves, leaving ten or twelve stretcher cases on the beach.
Fully aware of their fate, the nurses put on a brave face. Their matron, Irene Drummond, called out: "Chin up, girls. I'm proud of you and I love you all." At that point the Japanese fired. Vivian Bullwinkel later described what happened next: » started firing up and down the line with a machine gun. ... They just swept up and down the line and the girls fell one after the other.
 

Unkotare

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Good for Abe. I can't imagine an American President (even the incompetent buffoon we have now) even taking seriously 'demands' by other nations that he never visit Arlington National Cemetery, for example.

US 'criticism' in this instance is, I suspect, just going through diplomatic motions to partly placate South Korea. China's "objections" will be given all the consideration that their self-declared "air defense zone" was.
 

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