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Abe Yasukuni visit would rile Asia: U.S.

Kyodo

Tensions in East Asia would rise if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the war, according to a U.S. government report.

A visit by Abe or members of his Cabinet to the Shinto shrine in central Tokyo on the “sensitive” anniversary of Japan’s surrender “could again spike tension in the region,” the report by the influential Congressional Research Service says.

Titled “Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress,” Friday’s report refers to sharp reactions by China and South Korea to past trips by influential politicians to Yasukuni, which honors convicted Class-A war criminals among Japan’s war dead.

Describing Abe as being “known for his strong nationalist views,” the report says comments and actions on controversial historical issues by Abe and his Cabinet have raised “concern that Tokyo could upset regional relations in ways that hurt U.S. interests.”

Abe’s approach to issues such as the women who were forced into wartime sexual servitude under the Japanese military will be “closely monitored” by Japan’s neighbors as well as the United States, the report says.

In discussing Abe’s major policy goal of increasing Japan’s military capabilities, it says U.S. officials are in general supportive of strengthening Tokyo’s defense posture in the region.

On the other hand, the report says, U.S. officials “quietly voice their concern about historical disagreements affecting cooperative efforts, particularly in developing closer trilateral coordination with Japan and South Korea.”

China’s assertive claim to the Senkaku Islands embodies Japan’s security challenges, the report says. Beijing has been repeatedly sending armed ships into Japanese waters near the islets since last fall.

Japan has “an acute need” for the Self-Defense Forces to build up their capacity in the southwest part of the archipelago, the congressional report says.

It also takes up Japan’s political instability, pointing out the revolving door in the prime minister’s office.

Among those who could only stay in power for a short while was Abe, who held the post during his first sting from just 2006 to 2007.

“This period of political instability may have come to an end in July 2013 with the landslide victory” of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the Upper House election, it says.

  • tennesseetuxedo59

    its Abes business where he visits

  • opinon only

    Enough with the guilt already. If you want to visit graves of dead soldiers go ahead. Who cares what China thinks. Why should China control the actions of Japanese leaders.

    • Eloísa Sato

      I can’t help but agree with your opinion!
      The Japanese have all the right to honor whoever they want… and is no-one else’s business.

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    Yasukuni shrine is never a cemetery, no remain is rested there but just registration books.
    The shrine nowadays is just a religious facility, but it was a very accomplice of every war Japan made.
    Worshipping a war accomplice is justifying the war we already admitted to be wrong, that’s why politician’s worshipping Yasukuni is not appropriate.

  • Murasaki

    “concern that Tokyo could upset regional relations in ways that hurt U.S. interests.”

    Who care about U.S. interests. This is Japan and Abe as PM has the right to do as he sees fit.

  • Dolyinger

    People seem to have forgotten the fact that the shine represents the Japanese religion called “jindou” which was exploited to worship the Japanese emperor and the imperialism and which consequently supported Japanese militarism during the WWII. Politicians’ worshipping at Yasukuni can never mean a simple pray for the victims and/or the war criminals buried underneath, but it symbolises that they will not forget about the militarism and fascism that their parents and grandparents (political leaders) had when they invaded neighbour countries and broke the war against the US and others. It is not just an issue of foreign intervention of Japan’s domestic politics as some Japanese argue. It is a serious internal problem of Japanese society in that such ultra-nationalist militarism is deceptively accepted and overlooked by more and more young Japanese who were raised to unknowingly suffer the amnesia and brain-washing of their war-time history.