• Kyodo


Japan will make clear there has been no change in its stance on history and diplomacy, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s abrupt visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine the previous day drew rebukes from other parts of Asia and miffed the U.S.

“As the prime minister said, the visit was aimed at making a pledge not to wage war again, with a determination to build an era free of the suffering caused by the devastation of war,” Suga said at a press conference, adding that the Abe administration will maintain the nation’s stance on history and diplomacy. He didn’t elaborate on Tokyo’s stance, however.

“The prime minister will explain it to other countries concerned in a sincere and polite manner,” he said.

With the United States expressing disappointment with Abe’s move, Abe himself sought to contain the fallout from his visit, telling reporters the same day he will make “sincere efforts” so the United States understands his intentions.

Suga was optimistic that Japan will be able to gain acceptance by the United States if Abe explains why he visited Yasukuni.

“Bilateral relations between Japan and the United States have been built on what we have accomplished up to today. In that sense, if the prime minister can explain the intention of his visit in detail, I’m confident (America) will understand.”

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the same day that Japan intends to deepen cooperation with the United States and enhance trust between the two countries by continuing to work through various issues.

Meanwhile, Natsuo Yamaguchi, who heads New Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, indicated Friday the government should consider building a state-run memorial for the war dead to avoid inviting criticism every time Japanese leaders pay respects to them.

“As one solution, we should actively explore a facility at which people in any positions can pay tribute without feeling uncomfortable,” he told reporters.

Yamaguchi also admonished Abe for visiting the shrine despite its predictable consequences, saying: “It’s sometimes difficult to maximize national interests with a principle-based assertion alone. Japan has no stable path forward without understanding from the international community.”

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