China files formal protest over Yasukuni Shrine visits by three of Abe’s ministers


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.

  • It reflects that two great civilizations are chained together by mellenia of inexcusable atrocities. They would each benefit from reproachment. Japan is well aware of its aggressions against its neighbors after WWI. Incidents such as “The rape of Nanking” have been discounted or dismissed, or they have been given moral equivalence to other horrors, such as the bombing campaign against Japanese cities. Perhaps, what China finds most objectionable to worship at the Shrine is an apparent reverence to men who advanced their Nation’s interests with wanton disregard for humanity. Maybe, it is time for Japan to let her haunting ghosts sleep? A Rising Sun begins a new day. It does not beckon to the past.

  • James

    I am no fan of the current Japanese administration and feel that the visits to Yasukuni display a “tone deaf” attitude towards international sensibilities, but it is a little egregious for China to criticize Japan for its internal politicking while insisting that events in Hong Kong, for example, are “off limits” and an “internal affair” of China. It’s true that Japan could do a little more soul searching about its role in WW 2, but China – with its horrendous human rights abuses since the war and flagrant occupation and abuse of Tibetan and other minority areas – has no “moral standing” to be the one to point this out.

  • It is ironic that China, a country with horrible history of human rights violation, and still commits serious human rights abuses today, focuses so much attention on what Japan did 80 years ago.

    By pointing a finger at Japan’s past, the repressive and oppressive chinese government gains legitimacy and diverts attention from its domestic problems.

    Japan committed terrible violence 80 years ago, but since losing the war in 1945, it is a peaceful, law-abiding country with some of the freest, healthiest and most prosperous people on earth.

    China, on the other hand, is guilty of human rights abuses since the end of World War II, and today. These include the violent repression of ethnic minorities; the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of political dissidents; and the restriction of individual freedoms, including speech, assembly and religious worship.

    No doubt, Japan must better address its past, but it should also use the opportunity to shine a light on the current state of human rights in china.

  • Martin Alfven Haider

    Funny, when it comes to the thousands of students murdered at Tiananmin Square, or the oppression and murder of the conquered Tibetans, the Chinese government stridently claims that it is strictly an internal affair.

    But when Japanese leaders honor their own war dead, at a shrine in their own country, suddenly it’s the business of China.

    That goes far beyond hypocrisy, and well into the territory of the absurd.