World / Asia-Pacific

Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine, cabinet ministers visit

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-15 10:17
Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine, cabinet ministers visit

A group of lawmakers including Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker Hidehisa Otsuji (3rd L) and Sanae Takaichi (2nd L), LDP policy chief, is led by a Shinto priest as they visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo August 15, 2014, to mark the 69th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.[Photo/Agencies]

During a ceremony to commemorate Japanese war dead the day, Abe delivered a speech and said "today is the day to renew our pledge for peace," adding that the country will make contributions to lasting world peace.

But the conservative leader, in his speech, skipped Japan's aggression during wartime in its Asian neighbors and again he did not pledge that Japan will not to fight a war.

The omitted part has done at the annual ceremony since 1994, the year that then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama released his statement expressing remorse over Japan's wartime invasion in neighboring countries.

Concerns have arose since hawkish Abe drastically changed Japan 's defense stance in July by reinterpreting the country's war- renouncing constitution to allow the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to exercise right to collective self-defense, making the SDF could engage fight overseas for countries have close ties with Japan.

The majority of Japanese public is worried about that the move, on one hand, violates Japan's legislative system, on the other hand, could drag Japan into war again. For neighboring countries, the move made Japan's military strategy more ambiguous.

Japan's relations with its neighboring countries, especially South Korea and China, have frayed not only for territorial disputes, but also due to the Yasukuni and "comfort women" issues, which are considered as a test stone to Japan's reflection on its wartime history.

Repeated worships to the shrine angers Japan's neighboring countries that suffered Japan's brutal aggression in wartime as 14 convicted Class-A Japanese war criminals during the WWII are enshrined here.

Both of the two Japan's neighbors urged many times that Japan and its officials should face up to its past history and act concretely to mend ties with its neighboring countries.

On Friday, South Korean Foreign Ministry condemned Abe for sending an offering to the shrine, demanding Japanese politicians to confess their country's wartime crimes.

The ministry's spokesman Noh Kwang-il said in a statement that the government "cannot help deploring" Japanese politicians' visit to the shrine as it is a symbol of Japan's colonial rule and reflects the country's attempt to whitewash its wartime aggression.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China is "firmly opposed" to Abe's offering and cabinet officials' visit to the infamous shrine.

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