Dozens of Japanese lawmakers visit war-linked shrine | Eurasia Diary -

21 March, Thursday

Dozens of Japanese lawmakers visit war-linked shrine

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Dozens of Japanese lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties visited the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo during its annual autumn festival on Thursday, the Kyodo News Agency reported.
The visit of around 70 lawmakers to the shrine came a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering, shunning a visit himself.
Following the visit, the Seoul government expressed its "deep concern and disappointment" in a statement.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that Seoul "expresses deep concern and disappointment over the fact that leaders of the government and the parliament of Japan once again sent offerings to and visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which glorifies Japan's history of colonial rule and war of aggression."
Abe, who is currently visiting Europe, has refrained from paying tribute in person at the shrine in central Tokyo since December 2013.
"That visit worsened Japan-China ties already frayed over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which Beijing also claims," the news agency said.
Among the visitors of the shrine were Yoshihiko Isozaki, senior vice industry minister, Katsunobu Kato, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's general council, and LDP Diet affairs chief Hiroshi Moriyama.
Two other senior vice ministers and four parliamentary vice ministers of the Abe Cabinet were also among the group, it was reported.
Abe is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week in Beijing.
The Yasukuni Shrine has been a source of tension between Japan and its neighbors, particularly South Korea and China.
Visits by Japanese officials to Yasukuni, including one by premier Abe in December 2013, have long drawn criticism as they are viewed as a sign of Japan failing to atone for its past "imperialist aggression".
Conservative politicians in the country have been accused of repeatedly downgrading previous statements of apology.


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