Japan 'should respect' neighbors' sentiments

By Hu Xuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-09 07:02

China urged on Tuesday Japan to strictly abide by the consensus reached between the two countries on overcoming political barriers in bilateral relations.

Responding to a question at a press briefing on Japanese Prime Minister Shinto Abe's offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Japan should respect its neighbors' sentiments.

Related readings:
Japan PM makes shrine offering
Bush & Abe push N. Korea to shut reactor
Abe apologizes over sex slavery-report
Kyodo: Abe unlikely to visit shrine in April
Wen, Abe open economic dialogue
Abe didn't visit the shrine, which honors 14 Class-A World War II criminals and other Japanese, in person but sent a masakaki plant for the annual spring festival in late April under the name of prime minister, Kyodo News Agency said. This is his first direct show of respect at Yasukuni since taking office last year.

Abe has adopted a strategy of staying ambiguous on paying respects to the Japan's war dead since September, when he took over office from Junichiro Koizumi whose repeated visits to the shrine soured China-Japan ties and angered the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The ROK's Foreign Ministry called the move "very regrettable" and "running counter to establishing a correct perception of history, which serves as the basis of regional peace and stability".

"The Yasukuni Shrine issue is a grave problem affecting national sentiment and the political foundation of bilateral relations," Jin Xide, a researcher with the Institute of Japan Studies, under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

Japanese media reports said Abe paid 50,000 yen ($420) for the plant, considered divine in Shinto religion, out of his own pocket.

Asked by reporters about angering countries that suffered under Japanese invasion, Abe declined to either confirm or deny he making the offering.

"As I've said before, I want to continue to have the feeling of paying respect to and praying for the souls of those who died fighting for their country," he said.

Agencies contributed to the story

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours