Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - Page 6 News List

China criticizes Akie Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine

AFP, BEIJING

China yesterday hit out at Japan after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine, saying the nation should “deeply reflect” on its history of aggression.

Akie Abe on Tuesday visited the shrine in central Tokyo that honors the memory of Japan’s war dead since the 19th century, including more than a dozen war criminals convicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East after the Second World War, as well as more than 30,000 Taiwanese soldiers who died in the war.

In a one sentence reaction, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said that Japan has failed to come to terms with its past.

“Japan should earnestly look squarely at its past history of aggression and deeply reflect on it, thoroughly separate itself from the militarism of the time, make more efforts that will help enhance mutual trust and achieve reconciliation with neighboring countries in Asia,” the Chinese official said in remarks posted on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site.

Akie Abe on Tuesday posted photographs on Facebook following a visit to the shrine.

“I feel different about Yasukuni after a visit to Chiran,” she wrote, referring to a base for World War II kamikaze, or suicide mission pilots.

Shinzo Abe stayed away from Yasukuni himself, but a few members of his Cabinet visited on Saturday, the 70th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender.

A day earlier, Shinzo Abe had issued a closely watched statement on the war, which China and South Korea said did not amount to a proper apology for Tokyo’s aggression.

Views of the war and its causes, as well as a maritime territorial dispute that has intensified in recent years have served as major impediments to normal relations between China and Japan — Asia’s two biggest economies.

Japan’s first lady remains largely in the shadows of public life, but has openly disagreed with her husband on certain policy issues in the past, including his pro-nuclear energy stance following the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster.

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