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Abe's cabinet member visits notorious Yasukuni Shrine

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-28 20:36

TOKYO - Masahiro Imamura, Japan's reconstruction minister for disaster-hit region, visited the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday, shortly after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a memorial at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Imamura claimed that his visit to the shrine right after Abe and US President Barack Obama met in the Pearl Harbor was just a "coincidence," saying that he made the decision a week ago.

Renho, leader of Japan's largest opposition Democratic Party, however, said the visit showed that "Abe administration does not appear to be united."

Imamura also visited the shrine on Aug 11, several days before the Aug 15 anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II (WWII).

Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals among 2.5 million Japanese war dead from WWII and is regarded as a symbol of the past Japanese militarism.

Visits to the infamous shrine by Japanese leaders and officials have sparked strong criticism from China and South Korea, which both fell victims to Japanese invasion in WWII.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left for a visit to Hawaii on Monday and attended a ceremony there with Obama to remember the thousands of US soldiers and civilians killed during a surprise attack by Japan there on Dec 7, 1941.

Abe has intended the trip to be a symbol of reconciliation.

However, his no-apology stance has evoked doubts and criticism that the visit is only a diplomatic show aiming to score political points and strengthen Japan's alliance with the US while constituting no reflection upon the war.

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