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.
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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid