News / Asia

China, S. Korea Criticize Japanese Ministers' War Shrine Visit

Japanese lawmakers, including cabinet ministers, are led by a Shinto priest as they visit the Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead in Tokyo, October 18, 2012.
Japanese lawmakers, including cabinet ministers, are led by a Shinto priest as they visit the Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead in Tokyo, October 18, 2012.
— China and South Korea are criticizing the latest visits to a controversial Tokyo war shrine by members of the Japanese cabinet.

The Thursday visits by two Japanese cabinet ministers, former prime minister Yoshiro Mori and more than 60 other lawmakers from various parties to the Yasukuni shrine prompted quick criticism in other Asian countries.

Yasukuni, where the souls of Class-A war criminals are enshrined, is viewed as a symbol of Japan's early 20th century militarism.

The Japanese officials say their visit was timed to an autumn festival.

South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young calls the act by the Japanese politicians irresponsible, ignoring the sentiments of the victims of Japan's past imperialism in neighboring countries.

Cho says the government of the Republic of Korea wants Japanese political leaders to be responsible and humbly confront history.

In Beijing, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei also called on the Japanese to reflect on history  to better get along with their neighbors.

Hong says the shrine is a spiritual pillar of Japan's overseas aggression.

One of the cabinet members making the pilgrimage to the shrine, Postal Privatization Minister Mikio Shimoji says he made the visit in his official capacity as the secretary general of the People's New Party, an ally of the governing Democratic Party of Japan.

Shimoji says he hopes the visit by him and other politicians will not become a major diplomatic issue.

Transport minister Yuichiro Hata says his visit was in a private capacity.

Hata says he does not know whether the visit will have an effect on relations with China, but he hopes it does not.

The politicians appeared at the shrine one day after the leader of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, Shinzo Abe, offered prayers there.

China's Xinhua news agency remarked that Abe's visit has dealt another blow to already fragile Sino-Japanese relations.

Abe, a hawkish former prime minister, is the leading candidate to return to his old job should the opposition prevail in the next general election.

Current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of the DPJ, has refrained from visiting Yasukuni and had asked that members of his cabinet also not visit, a request also not heeded previously.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid