Sanae Takaichi, the policy chief for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, stated on Sunday that she would continue her visits to the controversial Yasukuni war memorial, even amidst the outcry and protest from China and South Korea. Speaking on a television program on NHK, Takaichi defended the mass visit of almost 170 active lawmakers, herself included, to the shrine last month, saying that it is a nation’s internal affair of how to honor those who gave their lives in service of their country.
As a memorial to Japan’s war dead, including 14 convicted of war crimes, Yasukuni is often seen as a symbol of Japan’s past aggressions to those who were colonized by the Imperial Army. While China is among the most vocal in condemning visits to the shrine by government leaders, Takaichi pointed out that part of the diplomatic ties formed between Tokyo and Beijing in 1972 was an agreement to the principle of non-interference in each nation’s internal affairs.
Takaichi acknowledged that there was “no doubt that (Japan) hurt the ethnic pride of people in colonised countries and caused them tremendous sufferings,” but also questioned whether a 1995 landmark apology issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama was right in referring to a “mistaken national policy.” The policy chief said that she doesn’t believe it would have been best at the time for Japan to not stand up against western powers in order to prevent becoming yet another colony. The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially stated last week that it would not be revising any of Japan’s formal apologies for World War II atrocities, but Takaichi mentioned without elaborating that Abe may hold different personal views from past government that accepted judgements of the post-war Tokyo Trials.
[via Channel News Asia]