News / Asia

China Objects to Japan Shrine Visit

People bow at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Aug. 15, 2013.
People bow at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Aug. 15, 2013.
Shannon Van Sant
Officials in Beijing summoned the Japanese ambassador Thursday after members of Japan’s Cabinet took part in a controversial annual ceremony memorializing Japan’s war dead.

China issued a strong complaint from its Foreign Ministry and summoned Japan’s ambassador Thursday after two Japanese politicians visited a Tokyo shrine to commemorate Japan’s war dead.  China’s Foreign Ministry said the shrine visit “seriously” harms the feelings of the Chinese people and other Asian countries.

In addition to the two Cabinet ministers, about 90 Japanese lawmakers visited the shrine. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe elected not to visit Thursday, but sent an offering through an aid.

“I asked my special aide to make the offering on my behalf with a feeling of gratitude and respect for those who fought and gave their precious lives for their country," he said.

Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Abe instead participated in a government-sponsored secular ceremony, where he said he hoped Japan reflected on history and did not repeat the misery of war. However, unlike his predecessors, he did not express remorse over Japan’s wartime aggression.

The Yasukuni shrine is dedicated to Japan’s 2.5 million war dead, including convicted war criminals. Japan’s neighbors say the Shinto shrine is a symbol of atrocities committed by Tokyo during World War II, and annual visits by Japanese officials are routinely condemned in China, Korea and Taiwan.

China’s Global Times newspaper stated that in recent years “Tokyo has slipped further to the right under the hawkish Abe administration.” Other media noted recent surveys indicating that more than 90 percent of Japanese and Chinese have an unfavorable view of each other.  

Xiaohe Cheng is a Professor of International Relations at Renmin University. He said many in China expected Japan to change its pacifist constitution and rise again as a military power. 

“The normal statehood from a Chinese perspective carries very important meanings that Japan will revise its peace constitution [sic] and will expand its military and military forces and also try to gain weapons, including aircraft carriers and possibly nuclear weapons,” he said.
Thursday’s shrine visit also angered South Korea, where President Park Geun-Hye indicated many Koreans believe Tokyo has not fully apologized or accounted for its wartime behavior.

She said Japan was an important neighbor for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia. However, the current situation surrounding the issue of past history darkens the future.  President Park said it was difficult to build trust towards the future if one did not have courage to look squarely on the past and attitude to consider pain of the opposite party.

As part of Korea’s own ceremonies marking its anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule, authorities held a traditional Korean martial arts competition on an island claimed by both Japan and South Korea.

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Comment Sorting
by: van from: vietnam
August 19, 2013 10:16 AM

Age :43
Sex :Male
Country :Vietnam
Theme :Vietnamese stand side by side with japan
Comment/Opinion :

if over 95% of Japanese people surveyed hate Chinese. I am sure almost 100% Vietnamese people hate Chinese. They always cheat and fraud us.
So don't worry. We always stand by Japan in any circumstance.

by: Samurai from: Japan
August 16, 2013 7:51 AM
No other country has the right to interfere with Japanese people's worshiping and respecting the war dead who fought with giant imperialism countries such as USA, Russia, China, and G. Britain. Chinese and Koreans deliberately condemn Japanese for visiting Yasukuni Shrine just because war criminals are also enshrined there. However, who are the war criminals? What kind of crime did they commit? Crime against humanity? Crime against peace?

No country can punish the other country (especially, a defeated country) under such crime names because it is against the principle of non-retroactivity. Provided retroactivity is allowed, USA, China, and Russia should also be punished for their committing genocides since the births of their countries. What I really want to say is that it is not clever for China and Korea to utilize the past war responsibility to stimulate their nationals' nationalism so as to avert their nationals' complaints to other countries. Chinese and Korea are now struggling to let their nationals recognize their political powers. Don't lead your people to the wrong side!

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 16, 2013 2:18 AM
I suppose China and Korea oppose ministers for visit to Yasukuni Shrine because it warships convicted war criminals along with war victims. There is a consistent claim that these war criminals should be excluded from the list of warship in Yasuluni Shrine in Japan, too. But this claim has been rejected due to mainly two reasons. Firast, Yasukuni Shrine is operated privately and religion is strictly separeted from politics in Japan. So, no one urges Yasukuni Shrine to dismiss war criminals as long as its managers want to keep them in the list. Second, relatives to war climinals are yet alive and they strongly oppose the exclusion.

Some experts point out it is not yet reflected on who were responsible for the last war by Japanese themselves eventhough so-called war criminals were convicted on war trials in a sense one-sidedly lead by the allied. We should rethink who were responsible for the last war. Emperor? Military leaders? General Japanese people? What made us get into the war?

by: Ohka from: Japan
August 15, 2013 7:18 PM
At present, majority of Japanese people believe the reasons of such provoking actions by China and Korea as follows;
China…China has the biggest fiscal problems including income differentials domestically, so they must want to decrease such people's anger by anti-Japan hate speech.
Korea…Korea has also serious economic problems, so they want Japanese financial help.
Before Abe administration, criticizing Japan worked magically and effectively to pull out money from Japan. However, no longer now.
S. Korea should change the strategy according to a well-known fable, The Sun and the North Wind.

by: haze from: malaya
August 15, 2013 1:36 PM
Japan politicians purposely visited the shrine yearly in order to made the China and Koreas government/peoples ANGRY !
In Response

by: freedom from: canada
August 15, 2013 6:45 PM
Japan has every right to visit shrine . China should look in the mirror . Japanese are well respected and like not like two face, sneaky chinese .

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