The state-backed media outfit of North Korea joined all the other angry voices in the region as it slammed Japanese Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe‘s recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, saying that it was “tantamount to a declaration of war against the peoples in Asia and the rest of the world.” Abe visited the highly controversial Japanese shrine that honors the country’s wartime dead on Thursday, which has again caused uproar in the region.
“The Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines class-A war criminals, is symbolic of Japan’s militarism that had brought great calamities to Asia,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a published commentary. While it can be noted that China and South Korea have always reacted to Japan’s government officials when they pay their respects to the said shrine, this is one of the first times that KCNA has gone on record to criticize Abe’s visit to Yasukuni. “The visit to the shrine and remarks made by the chief executive of Japan have something in common with the actions of those war criminals in the past, who had been hell-bent on invasion of Korea and other Asian nations, calling for ‘conquest of Korea’ and ‘new order in Greater East Asia’,” KCNA added.
Also pointing to the fact that Japan has recently been moving towards reworking its defense policy and security strategy, as well as building up its military, KCNA accused it of “consolidating legal and institutional preparations for another aggression.” This institutional rhetoric is not unexpected from North Korea, and it has well shown before that it is capable of saying worse statements than this. But the criticism for Abe’s visit has come from a lot of sources this time – expectedly from China and South Korea, but including Singapore, Taiwan, and a group from the Philippines – and even its closest ally the United States has spoken out against it.