Yasukuni Shrine remains opposed to enshrining war criminals at separate site


Yasukuni Shrine officials have reiterated their stance against enshrining war criminals at a separate site.

“Once-enshrined deities can’t be removed,” a representative of the Shinto shrine in Tokyo honors several convicted Class-A war criminals along with millions of Japan’s war dead, said in a written statement.

Visits to the shrine by political leaders always spark criticism from China and South Korea, which suffered from Japan’s wartime aggression and see Yasukuni as a symbol of the country’s past militarism.

Yasukuni began honoring wartime Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo and the other Class-A war criminals in 1978, stirring controversy in Japan and abroad.

The shrine officials, responding to written questions, also said that Japan’s engagement in past wars was for “self-existence and self-defense.”

Asked about visits by prime ministers and other Cabinet members, the officials said the shrine “welcomes anyone who hopes to visit.” Yasukuni will “quietly keep waiting for an emperor’s visit,” they added. Since 1975, when Emperor Hirohito — known posthumously as Emperor Showa — visited the shrine, no emperor has gone to Yasukuni.

  • GBR48

    There is absolutely nothing to stop the Japanese government from constructing a national cenotaph at which they can honour the nation’s war dead without annoying anyone. Not doing so, instead continuing with the perennial Yasukuni fiasco is little more than the childish games of immature politicians. Their job (and in a democratic society, the government are the employees of the people, their wages paid by taxes) is to do their best for the long term safety, social well-being and economic prosperity of the people of Japan. Annoying the neighbours has no productive benefit and merely damages ties with their closest trading partners. The government need to grow up and behave like responsible adults. That is always difficult for politicians in any nation, but in this case, it is an easy call to improve international relations.

    There is nothing to stop a private organisation or charitable group from buying land and constructing such a cenotaph. Through popular usage, it would then replace visits to Yasukuni and render the place obsolete.

    That said, it would be more worrying if schools were taking children there on ‘educational’ trips to the site, indoctrinating them with a completely false view of historical events. That is just storing up trouble for the future.