Japanese ministers visit controversial shrine on anniversary of WWII end

Tokyo, Aug 15 (EFE) .- Two Japanese government ministers visited the controversial Shinto shrine of Yasukuni in Tokyo on Saturday, on the 76th anniversary of the country’s surrender in World War II.

The shrine is considered by many to be a symbol that glorifies the country’s imperial past.

Yasukuni was visited by Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi and considered a future candidate to occupy the head of government.

Coinciding with the anniversary of the Japanese capitulation in 1945, the visit of the ministers and members of the public actually marks the holiday of Obon, in which the dead are honored.

However, the visit of the ministers promised to unleash protests from countries that suffered from Japanese expansionism in the first half of the 20th century, such as China and South Korea, which on Saturday celebrated their day of liberation from Japanese colonial rule (1910- 1945).

Beijing and Seoul have already protested visits to Yasukuni made on Friday by Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Koizumi and Hagiuda were also at Yasukuni last year, marking the first time cabinet ministers visited the shrine since 2016.

No prime minister has visited Yasukuni while in office since Shinzo Abe in 2013, which strained relations with Beijing and Seoul and prompted Washington to express its disappointment.

Current prime minister Yoshihide Suga has not said whether he will visit Yasukuni, and his spokesman Katsunobu Kato said this week that both he and the head of government would make “a correct decision” in this regard.

Yasukuni honors all those killed by Japan from the late 19th century to 1945, including 14 Imperial Army politicians and officers convicted as Class A war criminals by an international military criminal court. EFE


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