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Japan slammed for ‘ironic’ visit

Beijing: China has denounced as “greatly ironic” the Japanese defence chief’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which came shortly after she returned from accompanying Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his visit to Pearl Harbor.

“This not only reflects some Japanese people’s obstinately wrong view of history, it is also greatly ironic given the Pearl Harbor reconciliation trip,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chun­ying said at a news conference.

Hua was asked about Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada’s visit on Thursday to the shrine, which honours Japan’s 2.5 million dead during World War II as well as 14 Class-A war criminals convicted of plotting and carrying out the war.

She said that Beijing would lodge a protest with Tokyo.

The visit came right after Inada returned from the trip with Abe to Hawaii.

The two joined US President Barack Obama on Tuesday for the first visit by a Japanese leader and a US president to Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, to commemorate the victims of the Japanese attack in 1941.

The Chinese Defence Ministry also voiced “strong dissatisfaction and opposition” to the shrine visit.

“Prime Minister Abe’s speech in Hawaii bore no sense of guilt, but publicly called Japanese military officers ‘brave’,” spokesman Yang Yujun said at the ministry’s news briefing.

South Korea’s foreign and defence ministries also deplored Inada’s visit to the shrine, summoning Tokyo’s diplomats in Seoul on Thursday.

Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of international relations at China Foreign Affairs University, said Inada’s visit to the shrine right after she returned to Japan is “apparently a deliberate plan” to clarify the Japanese government’s real attitude toward history. — China Daily/Asia News Network