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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a clear statement by having his ritual gift, with his name and the title of his Liberal Democratic Party, sent to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday.
He did not visit the shrine, because it would have been a slap in the face to Japan's neighbors and the United States, but he did not stop members of his Cabinet from going to the shrine. Even though, as he and they well know, their visits to the shrine were not a matter of personal choice, as the shrine commemorates 14 Class A war criminals among Japan's war dead.
Thursday marked the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, and not only did Abe avoid the promise usually given by his predecessors to uphold Japan's pledge not to engage in war, he also broke with two decades of tradition by not expressing any remorse over Japan's aggression against its neighbors.