Two Japanese cabinet members visited on Wednesday a World War II-related shrine in Tokyo, marking the 67th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the war. The move is expected to spark anger of Japan’s Asian neighbours South Korea and China.
Transport minister Yuichiro Hata and Jin Matsubara, a state minister in charge of the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals, visited Yasukuni Shrine. It is the first such visit by Cabinet members under a government led by the Democratic Party of Japan that came to power in 2009, according to Kyodo.
Memories of Japanese militarism run deep in China and South Korea, despite close economic ties, the international press comments.
Recent diplomatic clashes over disputed islands are the latest sign of how the region has been unable to resolve differences since the end of the war, after Japan’s defeat and the end of the occupation and colonization of its neighbours.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda laid flowers at the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Tokyo to mark the anniversary, but did not pay a visit to the shrine.