As the autumn festival has begun Thursday, people from media are watching out for which public servant will visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Although no shadow of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed up yet, one of his cabinet members, however, decided to pay homage to those who died during war times as a private citizen.
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine Friday morning, claiming to have done so as a private citizen. “I offered prayers in my private capacity. I mourned people who lost their lives in wars and prayed for peace,” Shindo told the reporters at the shrine. Let’s hope China and South Korea are buying his claim. And may the whole universe conspire together and agree with the minister. “I don’t think this will develop into a diplomatic issue at all,” he added.
Part of Japan’s autumn festival is a visit to Yasukuni Shrine, home of those who died during times of conflict since the Boshin War in 1867 until the end of the Second World War. The shrine hosts more than two million of those who died, including high-ranking officials charged by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) with war crimes committed in WWII. The same homage is done during spring festival and on August 15, the day when Japan surrendered following consecutive atomic bombings from the Allied Forces.
According to the shrine, there were 160 members of the parliament who came on Friday. During the spring festival, 166 ministers came to pay homage. Abe, however, has not made any visits since being elected to power in mid-December, lest he encourage further uproar from China and South Korea.