Six days after the highly controversial visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Yasukuni war shrine which honors Japan’s war dead, another minister has taken flack for doing the same. The minister of internal affairs and communication, Yoshitaka Shindo, made his own visit on Wednesday, as thousands of people trooped to the temple to attend the traditional Shinto rites to welcome the New Year.
Shindo actually has a strong connection to the last war that Japan has waged, as he is the grandson of Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, who led the Japanese Imperial Army during the closing days of World War II as they fought the famous battle of Iwo Jima against the United States forces. Shindo said he made the visit out of “reverence for people who lost their lives in war.” He told reporters that this visit, which he conducted on a personal capacity, also represents the fact that he hopes that a war like that will never happen again. “I have renewed my wish for peace,” he said.
On the website of China‘s Foreign Ministry, spokeswoman Hua Chunying called this latest visit another “provocative act” by a Japanese minister. “We solemnly urge Japan to reflect on history and change direction,” the statement read. Visits to Yasukuni are considered by Japan’s former colonies as a glorification of its militaristic past. Abe received international criticism for his visit last week, as he becomes the first Prime Minister since Junichiro Koizumi in 2006.
[ via Global Post ]
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