BEIJING – The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Saturday lodged a protest with Japan’s embassy in Beijing over the visit by three Cabinet ministers to Yasukuni Shrine, Japanese diplomats said.
On Friday, Beijing voiced strong objections to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to send an offering to the war-related Shinto shrine — which China, along with other Asian countries, view as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism — on the occasion of its autumn festival.
Internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of female empowerment, and National Public Safety Commission Chairwoman Eriko Yamatani all visited the shrine on Saturday.
Abe, who returned Saturday from Italy, where he attended an Asia-Europe summit, is expected to refrain from visiting the shrine in person during its four-day festival through Monday.
Yasukuni Shrine, located close to the Imperial Palace, honors not just the war dead but Japanese wartime leaders who were convicted or charged as Class-A war criminals in an Allied tribunal after Japan’s surrender in World War II.