Japanese PM sends offering to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine

Updated: 2014-08-15 10:17


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Japanese PM sends offering to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine

Kouichi Hagiuda, an aide to Abe and a lawmaker in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo August 15, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine through his aide Kouichi Hagiuda on Friday on the 69th anniversary of Japan's surrender to the World War II.

Hagiuda told reporters after his visit to the shrine that the prime minister sent the offering as the president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Local reports said that Abe's avoiding to pay his respect this time aims to prepare for a meeting of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation to be held in Beijing later this year, in which Abe wants to hold talks with Chinese leader.

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Abe worshipped to the shrine last year in December on the first anniversary of his taking office and the Yasukuni visit triggered fierce criticisms worldwide, including Japan's key ally the United States, which said the move is "disappointing."

Earlier on Friday, two Japanese ministers of Abe's cabinet, namely Yoshitaka Shindo, Japanese internal affairs minister, and Chairman of Japan's National Public Safety commission Keiji Furuya, also visited the controversial shrine.

Shindo's visit came minutes later after Furuya's worship and the minister said his visit was a private behavior.

Meanwhile, Furuya said after his visit that it is reasonable for him, as a Japanese, to pay worship to the shrine that he called as a place not to whitewash Japan's wartime history.

"It's natural to pray for the souls of those who died for a country," Furuya was quoted as saying. The state minister visited the shrine during its spring and autumn festivals since he became state minister of the Abe's Cabinet launched in 2012. He also paid his respect to the Yasukuni on Aug. 15 last year.

Meanwhile, Shinjiro Koizumi, lower house lawmaker from the ruling LDP and son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, also paid a visit to the controversial shrine Friday.

Repeated worships to the shrine angers Japan's neighboring countries that suffered Japan's brutal aggression in wartime as 14 convicted Class-A Japanese war criminals during the World War II are enshrined here.

Japan's relations with its neighboring countries, especially South Korea and China, have frayed not only for territorial disputes, but also due to the Yasukuni and "comfort women" issues, which are considered as a test stone to Japan's reflection on its wartime history.

Both of the two Japan's neighbors urged many times that Japan and its officials should face up to its past history and act concretely to mend ties with its neighboring countries.