Japan’s Abe forgoes visit to controversial war shrine, sends offering

In an apparent nod to China and South Korea, Abe skipped his annual visit to the controversial shrine.
A Shinto priest (R) leads a group of lawmakers as they offer prayers at Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in WWII in Tokyo, August 15, 2016.(Reuters Photo)
A Shinto priest (R) leads a group of lawmakers as they offer prayers at Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in WWII in Tokyo, August 15, 2016.(Reuters Photo)
Updated on Aug 15, 2016 01:32 PM IST
Copy Link
Agency | ByPTI, Tokyo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual donation to a controversial Tokyo war shrine Monday, the 71st anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, but avoided visiting, in an apparent nod to China and South Korea.

Yasukuni Shrine honours millions of mostly Japanese war dead, as well as senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes after the war.

The indigenous Shinto religious shrine has for decades been a flashpoint for criticism by countries that suffered from Japan’s colonialism and aggression in the first half of the 20th century.

Abe visited in December 2013 to mark his first year in power, a pilgrimage that sparked fury in Beijing and Seoul and earned a diplomatic rebuke from close ally the United States, which said it was “disappointed” by the action.

A Shinto priest (R) suggests a group of lawmakers take a sip of sake during a ritual after prayers at Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters Photo)
A Shinto priest (R) suggests a group of lawmakers take a sip of sake during a ritual after prayers at Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters Photo)

He and other nationalists say the shrine is merely a place to remember fallen soldiers and compare it to burial grounds such as Arlington National Cemetery in the US.

But he has since refrained from going and reactions by China and South Korea to Yasukuni visits by Cabinet ministers and lawmakers, while remaining critical, have become less intense.

Abe sent the offering on Monday as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party — not as prime minister — in an apparent bid to lessen any criticism.

Speaking to reporters, Yasutoshi Nishimura, a party aide to Abe who made the donation on his behalf, said it came from Abe’s own money.

“Personally, I offered my condolences to the spirits of the war dead who fought for the country,” he told reporters on a muggy morning in Tokyo amid the sound of chirping cicadas.

“We should carry on the path of a peaceful country and should never initiate war.”

Yasukuni Shrine also confirmed the donation.

Japan's Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, bows during a national memorial service at Nippon Budokan martial arts hall in Tokyo, on Monday. (AP Photo)
Japan's Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, bows during a national memorial service at Nippon Budokan martial arts hall in Tokyo, on Monday. (AP Photo)
A Japanese veteran (L) and followers clad in outdated military costumes pose for worshippers taking their photos at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (AP Photo)
A Japanese veteran (L) and followers clad in outdated military costumes pose for worshippers taking their photos at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (AP Photo)

Koichi Hagiuda, deputy chief Cabinet secretary, visited the shrine as did Gen Nakatani, the former defence minister.

But Tomomi Inada, Abe’s hawkish new defence chief who has been a frequent visitor to the shrine in past years, was on an official visit to Djibouti.

Speculation had been intense over whether she would visit, but the overseas trip appeared to provide a convenient way to avoid angering China and South Korea.

Japanese media reported that Sanae Takaichi, a right-leaning member of Abe’s Cabinet, was expected to visit sometime during the day.

An official annual ceremony commemorating the end of the war will take place later today inside a Tokyo arena and be attended by Abe as well as Emperor Akihito.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Officers gather at the scene of the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. 

    Video captures horrific July 4 US parade mass shooting in Chicago suburb

    It was a morning of celebration for a Chicago suburb when suddenly dozens of bullets were fired, followed by a pandemonium and chaos in the streets amid screams. Shocking visuals and videos have emerged on social media. One of the clips, which is particularly disturbing, captures the moment when the attacker opened fire from a rooftop. Another video caught the confusion among onlookers. One man is accompanied by a toddler.

  • The motive of shooting is yet to be established by the investigating officers.

    Who is Robert Crimo? What we know about US parade shooting suspect | 5 points

    The US law enforcement agencies on Tuesday announced they had captured a suspect named Robert Crimo in a shooting on Monday that killed six people and wounded more than 36 at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. Those wounded ranged between the ages of 8 to 85. Who is Robert Crimo - person of interest in Highland Park shooting 1.

  • Law enforcement search after a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade in downtown Highland Park, Ill., Monday, July 4, 2022. A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    In July 4 US parade shooting, suspect held hours after 6 killed, dozens injured

    Robert E Crimo III, a person of interest linked to a shooting in the United States that killed six people and wounded more than 36, has been held. This is the latest incident of gun violence rearing its ugly head in the country. Here are top updates on the latest shooting incident in the US: 1. In his first reaction, hours after the shooting, US president Joe Biden said he was shocked.

  • China scrambles to contain fresh Covid outbreak

    China scrambles to contain fresh Covid outbreak

    A county in China's eastern Anhui province is carrying out daily nucleic acid tests on 763,000 locked down residents while mass tests have been ordered for other areas, as authorities scramble to contain a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. For China, it will have to be a pragmatic balance between its avowed zero-Covid strategy - marked by lockdowns, large-scale testing campaigns and strict isolation protocols - and allowing normal economic activity.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

    Putin orders Russians to fight on after key Ukraine city falls

    President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian troops to press their offensive deeper into the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after Moscow's forces seized the strategic city of Lysychansk. In a sign there would be no let-up in the fighting and that Russia now had its eyes on the entire Donetsk region, Putin told Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu that troops stationed there must continue their operations.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, July 05, 2022