News / Asia

Japanese Lawmakers Visit Controversial War Shrine

Japanese lawmakers leave after visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including World War II leaders convicted of war crimes in Tokyo, April 23, 2013.
Japanese lawmakers leave after visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including World War II leaders convicted of war crimes in Tokyo, April 23, 2013.
VOA News
A group of Japanese lawmakers has visited a controversial war shrine seen by many as a symbol of Tokyo's pre-war colonial aggression.

A total of 168 members of parliament on Tuesday visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine. The site honors Japan's 2.5 million dead from World War II, including some convicted war criminals.

The annual visit comes days after three Japanese cabinet members prayed at the shrine, prompting condemnations from South Korea and China.

The site is a focus of nationalist pride for many Japanese conservatives. But, many Koreans and Chinese see it as a symbol of Japan's colonial aggression in their countries during the first half of the 20th century.

South Korean foreign ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young denounced the visit during a regular press briefing Tuesday.

"Yasukuni Shrine is the place where war criminals are enshrined and it beautifies a war. They should have time to reflect on themselves and should think about what impression it gives to people in the related country and what people are thinking about it."

South Korea's top diplomat had already cancelled a trip to Tokyo after last week's visit by the Japanese cabinet members. Seoul said Monday that Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se had planned to outline the direction of bilateral relations with Japan before the trip was cancelled.

China also blasted Tokyo over the trips. A foreign ministry spokesperson said the visits to the shrine are an attempt to "deny Japan's history of aggression."

But Hidehisa Otsuji, a Japanese lawmaker who helps organize the shrine visits, insists that other nations should not be offended by those who wish to honor Japan's war dead.

"As a national lawmaker, in any country, it is only natural to offer prayers to the sacred spirits who sacrificed their lives for the country. Therefore, I have difficulties understanding the opposition from other nations."

The trips represent a regular challenge to Japan's already complicated relationships with South Korea and China.

Tokyo-Beijing ties have dropped to their lowest point in years because of a recent flare-up in a long-standing dispute about a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Separately, South Korea and Japan are engaged in a dispute about a Seoul-controlled island group in the Sea of Japan.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid