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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid