News / Asia

Japanese Ministers War Shrine Visit Upsets Neighbors

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso (2nd R) bows as he visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, in this photo provided by Kyodo, April 21, 2013.
Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso (2nd R) bows as he visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, in this photo provided by Kyodo, April 21, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Japan's neighbors are reacting angrily to visits by cabinet ministers in Tokyo to a controversial war shrine.
 
South Korea's foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, has canceled a trip to Tokyo that had been set for this week.
 
Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said South Korea expresses “deep concern and regret” over the recent visits by Japanese officials to a Shinto shrine in Tokyo.
 
Cho said the Yasukuni shrine “glorifies an invasion that inflicted great loss and suffering on Japan's neighbors.”
 
Japan's deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, visited Yasukuni on Sunday. Aso also serves as finance minister and is a former prime minister.

Two other Cabinet ministers also visited the controversial shrine.
 
Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, known for his nationalistic views, did not visit but sent a $500 donation in his name for a tree (cleyera japonica) branch altar decoration.
 
The Yasukuni shrine honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead - including 14 people convicted as Class-A war criminals following the end of World War II.
 
Countries which were subject to Japan's brutal colonization in the first half of the 20th century view Yasukuni as an enduring symbol of Japanese imperialism.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry called on Tokyo to "face up to its history of nationalistic aggression."

Hua Chunying, reacting to the Yasukuni visits, said only when Japan is able to deeply understand its past history and respect the feelings of the victims of its colonialism will it be able to "develop a cooperative relationship with other Asian countries."
 
The Chinese communist party's newspaper is condemning the prime minister's offering to the shrine. The People's Daily says regardless of what form worship at Yasukuni takes, it demonstrates a “wrong-headed view of history that deals a great blow to peace and stability” in Asia.
 
Japanese officials are attempting to downplay the significance of the visits to the shrine.
 
The Japanese chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said the government is not taking a position on personal religious visits made by officials.
 
Suga said each country is entitled to its position on this, but the ministers' visits should not affect diplomacy.
 
Tomohiko Taniguchi, councilor at the Cabinet Secretariat in the Japanese prime minister's office, elaborates on this, saying the appearances of the officials at the shrine are being misconstrued.
 
“From my personal perspective it is the shrine not for cherishing aggression of any sort. It is the place for people to pay homage to those people who died, lost their lives, during the wars," he said. "What you saw done by some of the members of the Japanese Cabinet were the actions taken by those individuals in no way representing the Japanese government's official views.”
 
Visits by government officials in previous Japanese cabinets have sparked similar diplomatic protests from Seoul and Beijing.

Steve Herman

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

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Thang from: Vietnam
April 25, 2013 1:26 AM
I don't know why Japanese are asked for stopping visiting there. I know some people were sentenced as war criminals, but what should a person do if his father kills someone and then was sentenced to death??? He should not visit his father's tomb after that???


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
April 24, 2013 5:51 PM
This is my question, regardess concering the matters between Japan and China, how and by whom the justice of war is determined. Is not it executed always by the rules of winners ? In other words, winners are justice?


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
April 24, 2013 4:15 AM
This is the fact that general Japanese seldom visit Yasukuni shrine and much less worship those who convicted as war criminals. A main reason why not a few cabinet members visit the shrine is that they expect votes on this summer election from fallen soldiers' family members who are markedly interested in the existence of the Shrine.


by: SEATO
April 22, 2013 9:15 AM
Did the Chinese government care about the Vietnamese people's feelings when they organised yearly commemoration of those PLA solders who lost their lives during the 1979 invasion of North Vietnam when thousands of Vietnamese were butchered ,raped and 6 whole provinces were razed to the ground? Imperialist China has committed far worse crimes than Imperial Japan and still doing it now in Tibet and Xinjang

In Response

by: oldlamb from: China
April 25, 2013 5:04 AM
Tibet and Xinjang have been attached to China for more than 300 years as two provinces since Qing dynasty.It is different concept.please peruse history. Dalai lama was a senior official in China's MingGuo dynasty.

In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
April 24, 2013 3:58 PM
to oldlamb,
So it is just for China to invade Tibet; kill innocent Vietnamese fishermen whose ancestors have been fishing in Vietnam's Paracel and Spratly islands for centuries.
Vietnamese women and old men kicked PRC ass in 1979 and taught China a lesson.

In Response

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou China
April 24, 2013 4:59 AM
There are huge diffrent bettwen China and Japan.It's justical war that China beat Vietname in1979.But the war which Japan invaded Asian 60 years ago was unjust.This is international viewpiont.

In Response

by: Remie from: Canada
April 23, 2013 7:23 AM
@seattle, Hoa people were a threat? That is more of the PLA lies. If that was the case why did they not finish the invasion? Because they wanted to steal land little by little like china has always done to their nieghbours. They lost that little war and yet told their people they won. Also, if it was to stop the persecution of the Hoa people How did that invasion help? China should stop their barbaric and sneaky ways.

In Response

by: SEATTLE
April 22, 2013 11:48 AM
To SEATO: I'm from China and I've never heard of the "yearly commemoration of PLA soldiers" killed in 1979. Is that something you made up or it's my ignorance? In fact, lots of Chinese have now realized that the 1979 war was not fought a war of "defense", as the gov't claimed. Though the persecution of ethnic Hoa people in Vietnam at that time was a real issue.


by: Tom Kinney from: Flint, Michigan, US
April 22, 2013 5:36 AM
I would be quite angry if my government tried to isolate an old enemy over religious practice. If enough pressure is applied to Japan they may begin to re-militarize.

In Response

by: Lucky from: China
April 23, 2013 2:06 AM
Also Japanese are discussing whether to establish the constitution to let them own a Real army that incur Chinese antipathy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid