Next month Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend the 60th commemoration of the 1955 Bandung Conference of Asian and African leaders in Jakarta.

His main reason for doing so is to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and hopefully snag a better photo opportunity than he did on sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing last November, where Xi made a sour expression as he shook Abe's hand.

The situation bears a striking resemblance to that faced by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi when he attended the same event 10 years ago. Koizumi, who led the country from 2001-06, derailed bilateral relations with his annual visits to Yasukuni Shrine.