Kishida’s offering to shrine slammed

Drawing protests: Japan’s Economic Revitalisation Minister Yoshitaka Shindo leaving after visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. — AFP

The country has protested Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine with “deep disappointment” and urged Japanese leaders to show repentance for the country’s wartime past.

The shrine is seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan’s past military aggression because it includes 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal among the 2.5 million war dead honoured there.

Past offerings there by Japanese leaders have led to protests from the two countries.

Kishida and some Cabinet members sent ritual offerings to the shrine yesterday, Yonhap news agency reported, citing Japanese media.

“The government expresses deep disappointment and regret that Japanese leaders again sent offerings to or visited the Yasukuni shrine which glorifies Japan’s war of aggression and enshrines war criminals,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said.

South Korea urges Japanese leaders to “face history squarely and demonstrate humble reflection and sincere repentance” which would be an important foundation for improved ties between the two countries, it said in a statement.

It did not mention Kishida by name.

Japanese foreign ministry officials could not be immediately reached for comment. — Reuters

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