Japanese PM unlikely to visit war-linked Yasukuni Shrine

Updated: 2013-07-26 07:04


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TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unlikely to visit the controversial war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in the "memorial day for the end of the war" on Aug 15, reported local media on Thursday.

Abe has stabilized his administration after the upper house election victory on July 21 and the prime minister decided not to pay a visit to the controversial shrine as he is mulling to mend ties with neighboring countries, namely South Korea and China, Japan's newspaper Mainichi Shinbun quoted government officials as saying.

The newspaper, however, said that Abe did not call on his cabinet members refraining from visiting to the shrine, which honors Japanese war dead and 14 war criminals during the World War II.

The prime minister said after the victory of the upper house election that he believes it is natural to pay respect to people who fought for their country and he will show his respect to them, adding that ministers of his cabinet will also make their own decisions on whether or not that they will pay visits to the notorious shrine.

In April, Vice-Prime Minister Taro Aso and other three cabinet members visited the shrine and a record high of 168 lawmakers also paid visits to the place during its spring festival. The move drew strong opposition from South Korea and China.

The Yasukuni issue, along with other historical issues and territorial disputes, is a main obstacle for Japan to restore its ties with South Korea and China, which have urged Japan to face squarely at history.

The "memorial day for the end of the war" is Japanese name for the Victory over Japan Day, or the V-J Day, on which Japan surrendered, effectively ending the World War II.