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China Daily Website

Visit to Yasukuni Shrine strains ties

Updated: 2012-08-15 18:41
By Zhang Yunbi ( China Daily)

A ministerial official from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on Wednesday visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a move that further strained China-Japan ties amid bilateral tension over China's territorial Diaoyu Islands.

Jin Matsubara, the president of Japan's National Public Safety Commission, visited the Shrine on Wednesday morning, while Yuichiro Hata, Japan's Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, will visit it today, reported Japanese media.

Both officials last week announced their plans to visit the shrine on the 67th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender.

The shrine honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A World War II war criminals, and is viewed as a dark reminder of Japan's militaristic past by its Asian neighbors.

Japanese politicians' visits to the shrine have been seen as an affront to China and South Korea.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry on Tuesday slammed the planned visit and said that Seoul "holds strongly to a position that Japanese authorities, including cabinet ministers, must not pay respects at the Yasukuni Shrine".

The visit on Wednesday was the first one by the ruling DPJ's cabinet members. Analysts say the move will embarrass Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who has banned cabinet members from visiting the shrine.