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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More