Cabinet minister Takaichi Goes to Yasukuni Shrine

A place of diplomatic friction

April 26th, 2016

The Cabinet Minister Sanae Takaichi visited the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Toky on Friday, along with 90 other lawmakers coming from ruling and opposition parties. This event might have created tension in China and South Korea. The Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo that commemorates Japan’s war dead. It was founded in 1869 to pay homage to those who have died in war and contributed to the foundation of peace in Japan. 

Apparently, the Shinto shrine is seen as a symbol of Japan’s militarism especially by China and South Korea, therefore it has always been a source of diplomatic friction. The shrine is typically visited by politicians and lawmakers like Hidehisa Otsuji, a veteran lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Besides, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit the shrine but he made a ritual offering to it. The aim was to keep the relationships peaceful with China and South Korea.

With the words of the minister Takaichi, “I prayed for the peace of the souls of those who died for the country, as well as for health of bereaved families”. Moreover, after the visit he declared to the reporters that the shrine can never be a diplomatic issue, for the reasons mentioned above.

In 2015, 106 members of the group of lawmakers, including members of Abe’s LDP, visited the shrine during spring, whereas in the fall they were 71 and 67 on the war anniversary. On Thursday instead, Seiichi Eto, a special adviser to Abe and Keiji Furuya, former minister of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals, paid a visit to the shrine.

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Cultural Diplomacy News
Paola Pluchino, CD News