Inada’s Yasukuni visit draws criticism from China, S Korea

31-Dec-2016 Intellasia | Japantoday | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Japanese Defense minister Tomomi Inada’s visit to Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on Thursday drew prompt criticism from Japan’s two closest neighbours, with South Korea condemning it as “deplorable” and summoning a Japanese diplomat to lodge its protest.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry called in Kohei Maruyama, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to protest. The ministry also said in a statement earlier that it was “deplorable that a responsible Japanese politician worships at Yasukuni shrine, which beautifies past colonial invasions and invasive wars, and enshrines war criminals.”

Similarly, the country’s Defense Ministry expressed “serious concern and regret.”

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press conference that the Chinese government is “firmly opposed” to the visit and intends to make solemn representations with the Japanese side.

Inada's Yasukuni visit draws criticism from China, S Korea (Reuters)

The visit, Hua said, “not only reflects once again the stubborn and erroneous historical view of some Japanese people, but also evinces a great irony following on the heels of the so-called ‘tour of reconciliation’ to Pearl Harbor.”

She was referring to Inada’s accompanying prime minister Shinzo Abe on a visit Tuesday to the site of the Japanese attack in 1941 that brought the United States into World War II.

The Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with the People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China, also highlighted the timing of the visit, saying Inada paid homage to the “ghosts” at Yasukuni just after talking about “reconciliation.”

The article noted that it was her first visit as defense minister to the shrine, where 14 Class A war criminals including Gen. Hideki Tojo, a wartime prime minister, are honored along with Japan’s war dead.

China and South Korea, along with some of Japan’s other neighbours, view Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan’s militarism in the 20th century, saying that lawmakers who visit the shrine are glossing over wartime history.



Category: Japan

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