106 Diet members visit Yasukuni Shrine, prompting criticism from South Korea

AFP-JIJI, Reuters

Scores of Diet members visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday to honor the nation’s war dead, whose souls are enshrined there alongside convicted war criminals.

The move risked drawing the ire of Asian nations that suffered under Japanese occupation and wartime actions.

Lawmakers in black suits streamed into the shrine under a bright blue morning sky to mark the shrine’s annual spring festival.

Alongside the war dead, the shrine also honors the souls of leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as Class-A war criminals. Beijing regards the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.

“I feel very grateful anew that we have maintained peace for 70 years,” said Hidehisa Otsuji, a conservative lawmaker with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the leader of a Diet group that visited Yasukuni. “The souls (of the dead) must also be pleased with this.”

A total of 106 lawmakers visited, the group said, however no Cabinet ministers were seen among them.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry condemned the visits, saying in a statement: “It is deeply disappointing and deplorable that Japanese politicians who are in responsible positions again visited today.”

“Yesterday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to Yasukuni Shrine, which glorifies Japan’s colonial occupation and war of aggression,” it said.

“By visiting or sending an offering to Yasukuni Shrine, which is a symbol of Japan’s history of imperialist aggression, after 70 years have passed since the end of the war, Japan explicitly shows it has not looked squarely at history.”

China and South Korea see the shrine as a symbol of what they say is Japan’s unwillingness to repent for its aggressive warring. The United States has tried to discourage visits, which it views as unnecessarily provocative.

Abe drew rebukes from Beijing and Seoul on Tuesday after sending an offering to the shrine, which he has not visited since December 2013.

He has also said he may not repeat a formal apology for his country’s World War II rampage through Asia, in a statement planned for August to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the global conflict.

S. Koreans sue 70 firms

A group of South Koreans who were forced to work for Japanese companies during World War II, and relatives of laborers who have since died, filed a class action lawsuit in Seoul against some 70 firms.

The damages suit, filed Tuesday, involves 668 plaintiffs. They filed it with Seoul Central District Court with support from a South Korean society for relatives of Pacific War victims.

The society helped 252 other plaintiffs file a similar suit in December 2013.

According to the latest petition, the plaintiffs are demanding that companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. pay at least 100 million won ($92,678) per person in damages.

Tuesday’s action is the latest in a series of lawsuits by former South Korean wartime forced laborers in the wake of a 2012 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that recognized their right to claim compensation from their former employers in Japan.

  • Jonathan Fields

    It’s just so obvious that they don’t give two ::expletive:: about the war dead. They just want to stir things up. And the thing is, they win no matter what. If no one says anything, they can confirm their “all we did wrong was lose the war” narrative. If they get rebuked, they can rile up their anti-China, anti-Korea base.

    • Man H

      Hmm. Very strage sense of christian values. The biggest aggressor of all (USA) is preaching peace to others. USA used nuclear weapon on civilian population with impunity -that too twice and it lectures world. Irony died today!

      • Hendrix

        you have a warped mind along with the usual “Japan was the victim” banta you are trotting out there.

    • Hendrix

      They are looking for a war with China or Korea, lots of cash to be made in war if you know where to invest, which is what the low life scum who run Japan are banking on… they couldnt give a **** about their own people never mind the rest of the world.

  • Sql

    Contrast Japan with Germany: Japan is just disgusting. Jhttp://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/i-did-not-question-that-the-jews-were-our-misfortune-bookkeeper-of-auschwitzs-horrific-accounts-20150422-1mqluz.html

  • Al_Martinez

    J-gov goose stepping to the shrine.

  • GGrey3155

    How hard can it be to remove the 20 or so Class A war criminals that are at the center of the problem? No one disputes the right of Japan to commemorate its war dead, even if they fought on the losing side. Even Germany remembers its war dead. It is the convicted war criminals who are responsible for major atrocities committed during the war that are the problem. Herein lies the difference between Germany and Japan. No eulogizing of war criminals + no rewriting a sanitized history = no problems.

    • Hendrix

      Problem is they think there were no war criminals and they were doing their best for Japan, yes very sick twisted bunch of F****** running Japan it seems.

  • tisho

    Depressing stupidity.

  • timefox

    Prime Minister even if the dedication things to Yasukuni Shrine , China has been close to Japan . Also this Dano lawmakers to worship at Yasukuni Shrine China has close to Japan . Not only that, it was open to talks .

    Anymore , only dedication the things It’s a useless . Next , Prime Minister visit to Yasukuni Shrine , should represent condolences to Japanese who killed foreigners .

    • R0ninX3ph

      timefox, as someone said above, if they simply removed the convicted war criminals from the shrine, there would be no problem with even the Prime Minister going to Yasukuni.

      Unless, you too, think that Japan had no war criminals at all.

  • Ron NJ

    I really want to be surprised by the headline, but that’s becoming more and more difficult these days.