150 Japanese Lawmakers Visit Notorious Yasukuni Shrine

TOKYO, April 22 (Bernama) — About 150 Japanese lawmakers from a non-partisan group on Tuesday morning visited the notorious Yasukuni Shrine during the spring festival, Xinhua news agency reported.

Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo paid a visit to the war-linked shrine earlier in the day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dedicated a “masakaki” tree offering on Monday.

The lawmakers included members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, main opposition Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Restoration Party.

A total of 168 lawmakers visited the shrine last year in what was the highest number since 1989.

The Yasukuni Shrine honours Japan’s war dead including 14 Class-A convicted WWII criminals and is seen as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.

Keiji Furuya, chairman of Japan’s National Public Safety Commission, on Sunday visited the shrine while Health, Labour and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura sent an offering on Monday.

Frequent visits to the shrine by Japanese leaders, cabinet ministers and lawmakers have become a major obstacle in mending relations between Japan and its neighbouring countries which suffered under the Japanese aggression during the war.

China lodged a protest with Japan on Monday shortly after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave an offering at the shrine.

“Abe’s presentation of an offering to the Yasukuni shrine and visits by cabinet ministers reflect the erroneous attitude toward history adopted by Japan’s incumbent cabinet,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry also responded angrily.

“We deplore the fact that Abe has romanticised Japanese colonialism and its war of aggression by paying tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine,” it said in a statement.

— BERNAMA

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150 Japanese Lawmakers Visit Notorious Yasukuni Shrine
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