Japan PM donates offering to war shrine

2013-10-17 09:04
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (File, AP)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has donated a symbolic gift to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, an apparent sign that he will avoid a visit that would have angered China and South Korea.

An official at Yasukuni confirmed the shrine received the offering, a sacred "masakaki" tree, to coincide with an autumn festival, with many lawmakers expected to make their regular pilgrimage on Friday.

Abe visited the shrine during the festival last year, when he was still in opposition.

Japanese media said two cabinet ministers were likely to go during this year's festival, which runs from Thursday to Sunday.

Yasukuni is a flashpoint in relations between Japan and its Asian neighbours - particularly China and South Korea - with disagreements about history badly colouring relations.

Beijing and Seoul see Yasukuni as a painful reminder of Japan's imperialist past because it enshrines some of the men who ran the country and it’s military during years of brutal expansionism.

Japanese conservatives say it is natural that they pay homage to people who lost their lives in the service of their country, and say the shrine is no different from Arlington National Cemetery, where the United States honours its war dead.

Moderates dispute this, and are seemingly supported by the US administration, which this month began pushing for a little-known Tokyo cemetery to take its place in an apparent bid to sidestep the corrosive issue.

On a recent visit to Tokyo, Secretary of State John Kerry became the most senior foreign dignitary to visit Chidori ga Fuchi, as US officials briefed that it was Japan's "closest equivalent" to Arlington.

Abe, who was also prime minister from 2006 to 2007, has stayed away from Yasukuni since he took office in December, amid angry denunciations by China and South Korea of visits by his ministers.

About 100 lawmakers, including three cabinet ministers, went to the shrine on 15 August this year, the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

Abe sent offerings on the anniversary and for the spring festival in April.

The two cabinet ministers who may visit the shrine this week are Yoshitaka Shindo, minister for internal affairs and communications, and Keiji Furuya, who is minister in charge of issues related to North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals.

Japan's relations with its two biggest neighbours were bad before Abe came to power, largely as a result of separate territorial disputes.

Tokyo remains at odds with Beijing over a group of islands in South East China Sea and disputes Seoul's claims to own islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Read more on:    shinzo abe  |  japan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.