Regarding the Aug. 15 story “Cabinet members, including Shinjiro Koizumi, visit war-linked Yasukuni Shrine as Abe makes offering,” prominent Japanese politicians paying their respects at a shrine where Class-A war criminals are honored is performative politics at its finest.

This was a proven tactic used by Prime Minister Koizumi in order to gain support from the conservative wing of the LDP, so his son Shinjiro is following in his footsteps. However performative this visit may have been for Shinjiro, I am still deeply disappointed in the power such an act holds.

If those who visited Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 truly wanted to pay their respects and mull over the terrors of war, why not go to Hiroshima or Nagasaki? I understand the logistics for such a trip would not be ideal considering the pandemic; however, instead of glorifying an imperialistic past, maybe these politicians should have sent their offerings to the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

On that note, although Prime Minister Abe did in fact go to a ceremony commemorating the end of World War II, his simultaneous offerings to Yasukuni Shrine negate whatever show of remorse he hoped to convey.

Also, the words of ex-Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara during his visit to Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 were quite disturbing. He expressed that such visits and offerings are good things, and that he cannot comprehend why Abe, and more importantly the Emperor and Empress, do not visit the shrine each year in person. Such statements reflect an unbelievable lack of remorse for and acknowledgment of the horrendous acts Japan inflicted on its neighbors during the war. Who is going to advocate for historically accurate teachings of history in schools if such people remain politically powerful and relevant? It is deeply troubling, indeed, that people such as these are in positions of power in Japan.

Meagan Finlay


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