Conservatives pay Yasukuni controversial visit

A group of lawmakers, including two Cabinet ministers, visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on April 22 to honor Japan’s war dead during the shrine’s spring festival.

Transport Minister Makoto Koga and Jitsuo Inagaki, director general of the Hokkaido and Okinawa development agencies, were among 150 lawmakers who visited the shrine. Another 73 lawmakers sent proxies.

Members of the group belong to the Liberal Democratic Party, the main opposition party, Shinshinto, and its splinter group, the Taiyo Party. Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Keizo Obuchi, the head of the Association of Diet Members to Visit Yasukuni Shrine, said the group’s action reflects its members’ “honest expression to long for peace,” brushing aside criticism over visits to the shrine. It honors the nation’s 2.6 million war dead, including those convicted as war criminals after the war.