Controversy As PM Abe Shinzo Visits Yasukuni Shrine

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013. Abe visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Thursday, in a move likely to anger Asian neighbour China and South Korea.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo December 26, 2013. Abe visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Thursday, in a move likely to anger Asian neighbour China and South Korea. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has made the news today for being the first Prime Minister in just over seven years to worship at the Yasukuni Shrine.

Abe chose December 26 as the day for his visit to mark one year since his inauguration as Prime Minister of Japan for the second time. However, given the controversial nature of the shrine, his acts are bound to draw international criticism, particularly from neighbouring East Asian nations.

Netizens are divided in their opinion over Abe’s visit, with the netouyo strongly supporting his actions, while many others think it is a step in the wrong direction.

From MSN Sankei News:

PM Abe Prays At Yasukuni, Marks Administration’s First Year, First Visit Since Taking Power

On the morning of December 26, which marked one year since the inauguration of the his administration, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo prayed at the Yasukuni Shrine. This is the first visit to the shrine by a Prime Minister in 7 years and 4 months, since Koizumi Jun’ichiro’s visit in August, Heisei 18 [2005]. Regarding the fact that he did not visit the shrine during his first administration, the Prime Minister has previously stated that it was “his worst mistake”, and after taking the position again, had been looking for the right timing for a visit while carefully assessing the international situation. The Prime Minister, who has continued to insist that “It reasonable that I would offer my prayers for the spirits of the war dead”, rebuffed internal and external pressure opposing the move, and it is significant that he went ahead with the visit.

“Once I had said that it was my greatest mistake, that remark was serious. I even thought of it tactically”.

This is what the Prime Minister told those around him on the evening of December 25, hinting of the possibility of praying at Yasukuni. Even in mid-December, the Prime Minister had revealed that “I will definitely visit before the year is out”.

In December last year, the Prime Minister had, at one time, planned a “lightning visit” to the shrine on December 27, the day after taking up his post, however, at the time his aides took a line of caution, and decided to wait. This was also due to the fact that immediately following the inauguration, it was difficult to predict the reactions or attitudes of neighbouring countries like China and South Korea, or allies such as the US.

However, in spite of the fact that the Prime Minister had called to China and Korea that “the doors of discussion are always open”, Chine and Korea made no attempt to respond with a leadership conference. In fact they have shown no compromise in the slightest, with South Korean President Park Geun Hye repeating anti-Japanese criticisms in various countries around the world, and China has unilaterally established an Air Defense Identification Zone in the airspace over the East China Sea, which includes the Senkaku Islands (Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture).

Furthermore, how to commemorate or remember the war dead is a conspicuous issue in domestic politics, and it is also difficult to publicly oppose or criticise the US, which dislikes any kind of discord in East Asia.

Comments from Twitter:


Quick, repeal the Kono Statement! RT @ouka396: Why today? Not even a big festival, or the day we lost the war, or the day the Asia Pacific War started, but because it’s the day of his own taking power?


This is how the Sankei Shimbun always writes things. Is this news?

Takuro Tsukiji:

When’s he going to pray there? Now!


Why is he doing such a thing…


Great resolve. Let’s sever relations with those lawless, uncivilised Koreans already.


I don’t think there’s any problem if he goes there are as a private citizen. I mean, the media make too much of a fuss. Abe himself has said that he’s going there as an individual, so they should just leave him be.

岬 太郎:

It’s natural for every nation to show a profound respect for its war dead, who offered up their lives, other countries have no right to find fault with Japan.


That’s it, let’s make it so that people can just go to pray at Yasukuni on a routine basis.
And after a while, I reckon that even China and Korea will stop their moaning.

kamimiya shino:

Abe’s bold decision should be applauded. I guess what’s unfortunate is that the media are making a fuss about the PM’s perfectly normal actions, and that because of neighbouring countries, the spirits of the war dead are being disturbed.


It’s only the Japanese right-wing who are rejoicing over this. I doubt their political sense.

暴走若人 (脱原発派政治家志望):

I’ve revised my opinion, Abe.


I support this on all fronts. Prime Minister, good job sir.


When he goes and does something like this, he’s just being irresponsible wondering what kind of reaction he’s going to get. He ought to know what would happen, but what kind of politician would actually go and do it? I can only hear the words “the doors of dialogue are open” as lies.


It is natural for a nation’s Prime Minister to pray in thanks for the war dead who died glorious deaths for the sake of the nation. I await increasing action on the part of Prime Minister Abe.


A visit with amazingly good timing.


I don’t think it really matters what other countries think of this.


Tone is so different from the Asahi Shimbun, as usual wwww.


I support this ( ̄∇ ̄)ゞ

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