News / Asia

China Outraged as Japanese Lawmakers Visit WWII Shrine

Group of Japanese lawmakers sip sake as they observe a Shinto ritual, Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Oct. 18, 2013.
Group of Japanese lawmakers sip sake as they observe a Shinto ritual, Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Oct. 18, 2013.
Reuters
A Japanese minister and more than 100 other lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Friday, prompting China to accuse Japan of undermining ties and trying to overturn the post-World War Two order.
 
China summoned Tokyo's ambassador in Beijing to express its anger and South Korea also criticized the lawmakers' action.
 
The visits, marking an autumn festival, came a day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his third ritual offering to the shrine since returning to office last year, though he did not visit it in person.
 
Abe has stayed away from the shrine in central Tokyo, where war criminals are honored along with other war dead, to avoid further straining ties with China and South Korea, both victims of Japan's militarism before its surrender in 1945.
 
"The Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol and spiritual tool of Japanese militarism," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference in Beijing.
 
"It consecrates monstrous crimes committed against Asia's victimized peoples, including those in China, by 14 Class A war criminals... This is a major matter of principle bearing on the foundation of Sino-Japanese relations."
 
The visits, she said, were another attempt to whitewash Japan's history "and challenge the end result of World War Two, as well as the post-war international order."
 
China's Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin summoned Masato Kitera, Japan's ambassador to China, to "lodge solemn representations" over the visits, said Hua.
 
As well as Japan's war dead, Yasukuni also honors Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, making it a painful reminder to nations that suffered from Japanese aggression in the 20th century.
 
Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo was the most senior of about 160 lawmakers to visit the shrine to mark the festival, which runs until Sunday. A deputy chief cabinet secretary also went.
 
"I visited the shrine in a private capacity," Shindo said, noting that his grandfather is honored there. "I do not think this should become a diplomatic issue."
 
Sino-Japanese ties have been overshadowed for years by what China says has been Japan's refusal to admit to atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in China between 1931 and 1945.
 
Territorial disputes
 
Memories of a brutal Japanese occupation also remain strong in South Korea, where the Foreign Ministry repeated its view that Japanese lawmakers should stay away from the shrine.
 
"We urge Japanese politicians to show speech and actions based on humble introspection and reflection of the past that will help build trust with its neighboring countries," the South Korean ministry said in a statement.
 
Japan's deputy chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said he had also visited the shrine in a private capacity.
 
"I think that it's only natural to pray for the repose of the souls of people who have given their precious lives for the nation," Kato told a news conference.
 
Ties between Tokyo and Beijing have been fraught for months because of a territorial dispute over islets in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
 
Japan's relations with South Korea have cooled over a separate territorial dispute.
 
Abe is seen as a hawkish nationalist with a conservative agenda that includes revising the post-war pacifist constitution, strengthening Japan's defense posture and recasting wartime history with a less apologetic tone.
 
He has said he regretted not visiting the shrine when he was prime minister in 2006-2007.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Juan from: China
October 20, 2013 10:44 PM
China and Korea should get over on what happened in WW2. The CCP killed more Chinese and Korean than Japanese so why is china keeps on living in the pass and don't want to even mention tianamen square massacre to it people.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 20, 2013 8:20 PM
It almost has been an annual event that Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni and China and SK condemn their visits. Just after the event, it goes as susual as if China and SK forgottened it and there happened nothing. Yesterday it is reported that Chinese government gathered tens of thousands of journalists around the land and orderd them to intensify reports of anti-Japan campaigns. What does this mean? China looks aiming to use this visit for propaganda to get any benefit on the territorial disputes. Asking the responsibility of Japan concerning the WWII seems merely the political strategy of China.

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
October 19, 2013 8:38 PM
Just to make some less educated ppl to understand it better, imagine what if German government worships Hitler in a church, how would you feel?
You think ppl won't make some NOISE to against it? Because Hitler has died for a long time, so worshiping him will be allowed?
Time to teach Japan a lesson!

by: Zayin Zakar from: Mexico
October 19, 2013 6:58 AM
You know these are war dead. Yes, there are some criminals buried there, as there are in many cemeteries across the world. And though these people are long gone and the world a different place, it would seem forgiveness as per usual is a short coming in most humans on the planet. No one has forgot what they did, not least the Japanese people, or the Germans for that matter. So, I can't help but think those vociferous people raising all the noise are doing it more for propaganda's sake. Since the worlds media is being used as a tool to focus hate, which seems to come so naturally. Let us remember the Japanese have been willing participants in demilitarization and abstaining from nuclear weapons. Whilst China has done the reverse and has been more than amply compensated by Japanese technology in a fashion similar to the US aiding Japan after the war via technology transfer. This is more propaganda and brinkmanship to leverage the territorial battle of the high seas. Anyone who's visited China would realize they're the ones beating the war drums with regards Japan. Japan are starting to dig their heels, as the threats from loony town in N. Korea and China are getting louder.
This is where cultural beliefs clash with politics and people get the wrong signals form assumptions and then you have a powder keg moment. Just a reminder to those of you who believe in a GOD; doesn't say love thy enemy and forgive and pray for the dead?

by: Nick from: Chicago
October 18, 2013 3:13 PM
Look at those animals open worshiping the Shrine, a ghostly symbal for WWII criminals. They do not know how to respect the WWII victims and still continue to encouage the return of the evil imperial army. It is shame to Japanese government and Abe. In fact, Abe being a famous family WWII war criminal will be more favor to go there.
In Response

by: JamesP from: Burbank
October 18, 2013 10:28 PM
I assume you didn't realise that the Yasukuni shrine doesn't only hold the graves of military personal but also other victims of the war, such as civilian and child evacuees from Okinawa as well as POWs. Hope you do not consider visitors of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial animals as well, since many Vietnamese also did not have good memories about that war, especially with the lingering effects of landmines and Agent Orange.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs