China protests Japanese minister's visit to war shrine
Updated: 2014-04-12 19:41
BEIJING - China on Saturday protested against a Japanese Cabinet minister's visit to the controversial war-linked Yasukuni Shrine.
"This once again shows the mistaken attitude of the current Japanese Cabinet toward history," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement.
China has lodged solemn representations and protests with the Japanese side, he said.
Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo visited the Tokyo shrine that honors executed war criminals on Saturday.
The shrine honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead including 14 leading war criminals of the World War II and is considered as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.
"I did it as a private matter which I am free to decide," Shindo explained to Japan's Kyodo News after the contentious visit.
While as internal minister, he paid visits to the war-linked shrine several times since last year, respectively in April, on the Aug 15 anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, in October and on New Year's Day.
Repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japan's ministers and lawmakers have become a major obstacle for Japan to mend already strained ties with China and South Korea.
China has urged the Japanese leader to own up to the country's wrongdoings, correct it's mistakes and take concrete measures to atone for the damage done.