File photo of Lee Teng-hui.
TOKYO -- A former leader of Taiwan, Lee Teng-hui, visited a Tokyo
war shrine Thursday, which is seen by China and other Asian
nations a symbol of Japan's militaristic past.
The name of Lee's elder brother is written on a list of the dead at Yasukuni
Shrine. It honors 2.5 million war dead, including Japanese World War II leaders
executed for their war crimes and tens of thousands of Koreans and Taiwanese
drafted into the Japanese military during Japan's colonial rule.
The 84-year-old former Taiwanese leader, who had long been working on separating the
Taiwan island from China, arrived in Japan last week for an 11-day
On Wednesday, Beijing slammed Lee for using his visit to push for Taiwanese
independence, and for trying to undermine China-Japan relations.
China in late May expressed "strong dissatisfaction" toward Japan for
allowing Lee's visit.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed that Lee's visit is private
and that he did not expect it to hurt Tokyo's relations with Beijing.
Yasukuni Shrine is a major source of contention between China and Japan.
But Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's Japan visit in April helped ease their
Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's six visits to Yasukuni
during his 2001-2006 leadership enraged China and South Korea, the two main
victims of Japanese aggression in the first half of the 20th century, prompting
them to reject summits with Koizumi.