News / Asia

    Japan's Abe Condemned for Visit to Controversial War Shrine

    Japan's Abe Condemned for Visit to Controversial War Shrinei
    X
    December 26, 2013 10:35 AM
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine Thursday, sparking outrage in China and South Korea and further damaging Japan's already frosty relations with the region.
    Daniel Schearf
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine Thursday, sparking outrage in China and South Korea and further damaging Japan's already frosty relations with the region. Yasukuni shrine honors the country's nearly 2.5 million war dead, including convicted World War II war criminals.
     
    Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, JapanYasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    x
    Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    Abe said his visit was a personal one to honor the spirits of the dead and was not meant to hurt Chinese or Korean sentiments. He said his presence was meant to show Japan was against war.
     
    Nonetheless, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang responded sharply to Abe's action.
     
    Qin said the Chinese government wished to express strong outrage and protest, and solemnly condemns Japanese leaders ruthlessly trampling the feelings of Chinese people, and people of other war-affected Asian countries, and bluntly challenging historical justice and human conscience.
     
    South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an un-named government official saying the shrine visit would have diplomatic repercussions.
     
    Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine

    • Shinto shrine built in 1869 to enshrine the souls of around 2.5 million war dead
    • Commemorates 14 men convicted of war crimes after Japan's World War II surrender
    • Seen by many Asians as a symbol of Japan's brutal imperialistic era
    • Has become a rallying point for some conservative Japanese lawmakers
    Since taking office a year ago, Abe has sought summit meetings with the new leaders in China and South Korea. However, both Beijing and Seoul have shunned the Japanese prime minister, blaming him for trying to re-interpret Japan's colonial and war time history.
     
    Japan's neighbors are also concerned about Abe's plans to change the country’s pacifist constitution to expand the role of Japan's self-defense forces.
     
    South Korea's Minister of Culture, Yoo Jin-ryong, read a short statement on live TV on behalf of the government, in which he said Abe’s trip to the Yasukuni shrine shows his incorrect understanding of history. He also said that the visit was an anachronistic action which damages fundamental stability and cooperation in Northeast Asia.
     
    • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
    • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows beside a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows a Shinto priest to pay respect for the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
    • Visitors hang fortune blessing papers at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.

    Abe is the first sitting prime minister to visit the shrine since 2006, when Junichiro Koizumi went to pay respects. Koizumi’s frequent trips to Yasukuni fueled anti-Japanese sentiment and rioting in China.
     
    To help repair relations, Abe declined to visit the shrine during his first term in office (2006-2007) or in August to mark the anniversary of Japan's surrender.
     
    It is not clear why he chose to visit Yasakuni now when Japan's relations in Northeast Asia are at a low point over territorial disputes and historical grievances.
     
    The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo expressed disappointment with Abe's action and said it will worsen tensions with Japan's neighbors.
     
    VOA Seoul Bureau Producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Patrick from: USA
    December 26, 2013 8:07 AM
    As an American who actually knows history, there is absolutely the grain of truth to Japan's memorial stating that they were forced into war with the US due to economic sanctions and our refusal to sell Japan oil and scrap steel.

    While no one can condone Japan's wartime aggression, I can condone Japanese leaders honoring the men who sacrificed themselves with absolute reckless bravery for their emperor, who had religious significance to them. RIP brave enemy
    In Response

    by: Greg from: Michigan
    December 26, 2013 8:16 PM
    Perhaps you need to read more history, read about what the Japs did in the Nanking Massacre against the Chinese people and tell me if you can condone that?
    In Response

    by: Sing from: USA
    December 26, 2013 2:04 PM
    They can take out the name of those 14 class A war criminals and may be then it is ok in your sense. Also take out all the members of 731. Read some more history to better educated on this subject. Abe is a Imperialistic Japs not surprise he did this but Americans better watch him closer of not letting him dragged USA to war in Asia.

    by: No Tongsuland from: Japan
    December 26, 2013 7:03 AM
    I'm afraid this article is written by a S. Korean. If so, it is a little unfair. It is the common sense for Japanese the Yasukuni Shrine was built in honor of the souls of the deceased soldiers. All souls of the deceased including Koreans', Americans' and my grandfather's are equally worshiped there as gods. We, Japanese, are really fair to every soul regardless of origin or cread. So, we could hardly understand the reasons why S. Korea and China strongly are provoking Japan this time. Leaders of other countries usually visit and show respect to the souls of the patriots, don't they? Praying for peace is a very business of a national leader, isn't it? Today, Japan just became a normal country!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    December 26, 2013 9:34 AM
    You should learn more from Germans.
    In Response

    by: peterma from: China
    December 26, 2013 9:17 AM
    Who provokes whom? We, the victims of those war criminals are outrageously provoked~ We, Chinese, Koreans as well as many many other Asians who were once tortured or killed mercilessly by those cold animals were severely hurt by your ignorance of other peoples' feelings ~~~think about it~don't whitewash your history, ok?

    by: Samurai from: Japan
    December 26, 2013 6:54 AM
    Who has the right to stop a person from paying respects to the war dead? Almost 70 years has elapsed since the end of World War II. Let's not make wrong use of the alleged war criminals who are enshrined along with other fallen soldiers. Who can name such leaders of a defeated country "war criminals"? I believe that the real war criminals are such leaders who massacred former inhabitants, other small tribes, or even tens of millions of their own nationals.
    In Response

    by: Sing from: USA
    December 26, 2013 2:11 PM
    Asian need person like Simon Wiesenthal for the persecution of war criminals still living in Japan no matter they are 90 years old! Or even if they are with a feeding tube. What is right is right and wrong is wrong! No time limits on war criminals send them to jail or hang them high.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    December 26, 2013 9:40 AM
    You are foolish on the history of WORD WAR II.Do you know anything about INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL FAR EAST,Tokyo Trials?
    In Response

    by: George from: China
    December 26, 2013 9:27 AM
    Just imagine the premier of Gemany pay respects to Hitler, what will happen in Europe.

    by: peter from: China
    December 26, 2013 6:35 AM
    The world should pay close attention to what is happening in the Japanese politics. It may trigger a new dangerous situation in Asia and the world. Japan is a not a reliable neighbor which never admits the mistake he committed in World War II.
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: Canada
    December 26, 2013 6:02 PM
    Japan has the right to strengthen its military against Chinese aggression. Who is the aggressor? China claim 80% of East Sea, invaded Tibet, killing innocent Vietnamese fishermen in Vietnam's waters, annexed territories from its weaker neighbours by sneaky tactics.
    Vietnamese were also victims of Japanese cruelty in world war 2. But Japan today is different than the Japan during word war 2. Vietnamese do not have any hatred for the Japanese like the Chinese and Koreans. At least the Japanese had the courage to go to war with big powers and showed loyalty to their country. Japan has the right to pay respect to their war dead. Japan can no longer depend on the U.S. to protect them as the U.S. has economic interests with China.
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora