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Japan's Abe sends offering to Yasukuni war dead shrine on WW2 anniversary

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Japan's Abe sends offering to Yasukuni war dead shrine on WW2 anniversary

By Antoni Slodkowski and Ju-min Park

 

2020-08-15T003908Z_1_LYNXNPEG7E015_RTROPTP_4_WW2-ANNIVERSARY-JAPAN-SHRINE.JPG

Visitors shout "Banzai" for the emperor at Yasukuni Shrine on the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan August 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

 

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Saturday - the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two - but avoided a personal visit that would anger China and South Korea.

 

At least two cabinet ministers paid their respects in person at the shrine, which honours 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal as well as war dead, and is seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan's past military aggression.

 

"I came to deliver a message from (ruling Liberal Democratic Party) President Abe that he paid his respects from the heart to the war dead and prayed for the rest and permanent peace of their souls," said ruling party lawmaker Shuichi Takatori, who made the offering on Abe's behalf.

 

Abe has not gone to Yasukuni in person since a December 2013 visit that outraged China and South Korea, but has sent offerings via an aide.

 

Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, 39, often floated as a future premier, visited the shrine, as did Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda, a close Abe ally.

 

Men and women of all ages braved scorching heat amid the novel coronavirus pandemic to pay their respects at Yasukuni, where markers helped people keep social distance while lining up and signs urged them to avoid clustering due to COVID-19 concerns. Japan has not seen an explosive surge but cases are rising.

 

Abe, as well as Emperor Naruhito, will attend a separate official, secular ceremony later in the day that has been scaled down due to concerns over the pandemic.

 

The United States and Japan have become staunch security allies in the decades since the war's end but its legacy still haunts East Asia.

 

Koreans, who mark the date as National Liberation Day, resent Japan's 1910-1945 colonisation of the peninsula. China has bitter memories of imperial troops' invasion and occupation of parts of the country from 1931-1945.

 

Japan's ties with South Korea especially are strained by a dispute over compensation for Koreans forced to work in Japan's wartime mines and factories, as well as over "comfort women", as those made to work in Japanese military brothels are euphemistically known.

 

"Let's not talk about the past, let's look at the future. I hope that Japan and South Korea can come closer together," said Ayaka Soma, 27, a free-lance researcher visiting Yasukuni.

 

Consensus over the war remains elusive within Japan, where more than 80% of people were born after the conflict's end.

 

Naruhito, grandson of wartime Emperor Hirohito and Japan's first monarch born after the war, last year expressed "deep remorse" over the conflict at the official ceremony for war dead, the first since he inherited the throne after his father, Akihito, abdicated.

 

Abe, who has adopted a less apologetic stance toward the war, pledged last year "never again to repeat the devastation of war" but did not echo the emperor's words of remorse.

 

About 530 people, including relatives of war dead, are expected to take part in the state-sponsored ceremony, down from more than 6,000 last year.

 

Everyone, including Naruhito and Empress Masako, must wear masks, seats will be at least one metre (yard) apart and a musical performance will replace the singing of the national anthem.

 

Naruhito's public appearance on Saturday will be his first since a February news conference marking his birthday, as the pandemic has kept him and Empress Masako at home.

 

(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by William Mallard and Will Dunham)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-15
 

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What a wast of life and treasure let’s all hope and work together to prevent another conflict like that it’s appropriate to pay your respects to your war dead 

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2 hours ago, geriatrickid said:

Consider the  reaction if the political leaders of Germany and Italy went to memorials for the nazi gang. Yet, the Japanese ministers pay their homage and not a word from anyone.

 

The refusal of the Australian, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canadian US and UK governments to say anything is  an abandonment of their duty to their nationals who suffered and is a betrayal of the veterans who were murdered, tortured and forced into slave labour. We  know all about the European concentration camps, but never is anything said about the Japanese internment camps. Instead of  crematorium, they had ditches where victims were burnt once the people were worked or starved to death. 

 

The western world cannot complain about China's brutality in Hong Kong when it does not speak out when the evil people who  murdered and enslaved millions of Chinese are glorified in japan.  

 

 

Exactly this. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Tug said:

What a wast of life and treasure let’s all hope and work together to prevent another conflict like that it’s appropriate to pay your respects to your war dead 

 

I have been to the shrine before. I also speak and read Japanese. So I can understand the exhibits and the nuances with no translation which varies from what is written in the local language. You seem to be clueless about who is enshrined there. Honoring war dead is one thing but war criminals are predominantly displayed inside. This isn't a statue of Columbus in a town square.

 

A little off topic but an interesting fact. Inside the shrine is a picture of all people bowed down on knees with heads to the ground in grief. It was a picture of the first time they had ever heard the emperor's voice in history. It was a radio address and the emperor told them he wasn't a God or divine being. That saved him from the hangman. Can you imagine what a head trip that would be? Jesus calls and says he isn't God. 

 

It was hard not to actually feel the sort of grief they experienced for a brief time looking at it. 

Edited by Cryingdick
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21 hours ago, geriatrickid said:

Consider the  reaction if the political leaders of Germany and Italy went to memorials for the nazi gang. Yet, the Japanese ministers pay their homage and not a word from anyone.

 

The refusal of the Australian, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canadian US and UK governments to say anything is  an abandonment of their duty to their nationals who suffered and is a betrayal of the veterans who were murdered, tortured and forced into slave labour. We  know all about the European concentration camps, but never is anything said about the Japanese internment camps. Instead of  crematorium, they had ditches where victims were burnt once the people were worked or starved to death. 

 

The western world cannot complain about China's brutality in Hong Kong when it does not speak out when the evil people who  murdered and enslaved millions of Chinese are glorified in japan.  

 

 

Even changed the name from VJ day to VP day.

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It starts with the schools. I wish they'd educate their kids. At least give them the facts and let them decide.

 

Too many kids leave school ignorant of their respective countries history, and I'm not just referring to the Japanese.

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