World / Asia-Pacific

S.Korea slams Japanese politicians' tribute to war criminal shrine

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-22 11:13

SEOUL - South Korea on Wednesday strongly denounced a group of Japanese politicians who paid tribute earlier in the day to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, where 2.47 million Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals, are honored.

"Yesterday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a ritual offering again to the Yasukuni Shrine that beautifies Japan's colonial pillage and war of aggression. Today, Japanese politicians in responsible position repeated tributes to the shrine. Those were very disappointing and deplorable," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Even now, 70 years after the end of World War II, Japanese officials in responsible positions are paying worship, or making offerings, to the shrine, a symbol of the Imperial Japan's aggression, the statement said, noting that it reflects Japan that is not squarely facing up to the history yet.

The statement urged Japan to meet expectations for improved ties between Seoul and Tokyo by making a sincere apology and repenting over its wartime past as this year marks the 50th anniversary of normalized diplomatic ties between the two countries.

A group of Japanese lawmakers visited the shrine, a symbol of the militaristic Japan, during the shrine's spring festival.

The group paid worship last year to the WWII criminals during the spring and autumn festivals and on Aug. 15, the date on which Japan was defeated in the devastating war 70 years ago.

On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a ritual offering to the shrine, repeating his provocative act. Abe also made such controversial offerings last year during the spring and autumn festivals and on Aug 15.

Abe angered South Korea and China, suffered in the first half of the 20th century from Japan's brutal aggressions and atrocities, by making a pilgrimage to the shrine in December 2013, only one year after his return to power.

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