Japanese lawmakers visit war-linked Yasukuni Shrine en masse
Updated: 2016-04-22 10:02
A group of bipartisan lawmakers visits the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on April 22, 2016, during its spring festival.[Photo/IC]
TOKYO -- A group of lawmakers on Friday visited the controversial war-linked Yasukuni Shrine which stands as a symbol of Japan's militarism and honors its war dead including criminals convicted by an international tribunal.
The visit by the group of lawmakers to celebrate the shrine's spring festival, follows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe making a ritual offerings to the notorious shrine in Tokyo and dedicating a "masakaki" tree a day earlier.
Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki, House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima and House of Councillors President Masaaki Yamazaki made similar offerings.
Seiichi Eto, Abe's special advisor, and Liberal Democratic Party and lower house member, Keiji Furuya, meanwhile, visited the contentious war-linked shrine in person.
Gestures, whether made in person or made by proxy at the war shrine, draw the ire of Japan's neighboring countries, particularly China and South Korea, who both suffered immeasurably at the hands of Japan's brutal militarism before and during WWII and were both quick to denounce the visits and the offerings on Thursday.
The controversial war shrine honors the souls of some 2.5 million war dead, including more than 1,000 war criminals convicted by a post WWII court, including 14 Class-A war criminals as adjudicated by the war crimes tribunal.
For the victim countries of Japan's wartime atrocities, the shrine is a living reminder of the horrors inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Army during its time occupying countries, particularly in East Asia, and a symbol of ultra-rightwing defiance and a stronghold of contemporary historical revisionism, militarism and an imperialistic mentality.
Abe himself has not visited the shrine since he paid an ill-advised tribute there in person in December 2013, the fallout of which saw Japan's ties with its closest neighbors effectively disintegrate and the Japanese leader strongly reprimanded by the United States for inflaming regional tensions.
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