Tokyo, Aug 15 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a ceremonial offering Tuesday to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a source of friction with neighboring countries due to its militaristic ties, on the 78th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The offering, as on other occasions, consisted of sending a “masakaki” tree in his name as head of government, a gesture Japanese prime ministers have been repeating for years on important dates or for spring, summer and autumn festivals, which China and South Korea view with disapproval.
Yasukuni honors more than 2.4 million people, including 14 politicians and imperial army officers convicted as class A war criminals after World War II, who fought for Japan between the late 19th century and 1945.
No acting Japanese head of government has visited the shrine after Shinzo Abe went to make an offering in December 2013, sparking criticism inside and outside the country that prompted the start of sending the offerings.
The offering on this occasion coincides with the commemoration of Japan’s World War II surrender, which marked the end of the conflict, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
China and South Korea, countries that suffered war attacks from Japan, have been expressing their complaints about the official tributes in Yasukuni because of old open wounds of colonialism.
Kishida is expected not to visit the shrine, especially after his country’s rapprochement with Seoul under President Yoon Suk-yeol.
Japan and China commemorated last year, for their part, the 50th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations, though these remain tense, mainly due to their territorial dispute around the Senkaku Islands, administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing.
While prime ministers have refrained from visiting Yasukuni, it is common for groups of parliamentarians to go to the shrine on special dates, including some ministers or prominent political figures, arousing interest at the diplomatic level. EFE