Japan’s ruling party official visits Yasukuni War Dead Shrine on World War II anniversary

TOKYO (Reuters) – A senior member of Japan’s ruling party visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni shrine for the war dead on Monday, on the 77th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II , a decision likely to anger South Korea and China.

The site, honoring 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted of war criminals by an Allied court, as well as war dead, was visited early Monday by Koichi Hagiuda, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s political research council ( LDP) and a key ally in killing former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan’s past military aggression, Tokyo’s central shrine was also visited on Saturday by Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

The commemoration leaves Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, on the pacifist side of the conservative LDP, facing a delicate balancing act – avoiding angering neighbors and international partners, while keeping the party’s most right-wing members happy, especially after the murder of the kingpin of the party. Abe last month.

Japan’s relations with China are particularly strained this year after it conducted unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan following the visit there by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month. During the exercises, several missiles fell in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

A group of lawmakers who normally go en masse on August 15 said last week they would not due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Kishida avoided paying tribute in person on the anniversary of the end of the war when he was a cabinet minister and an LDP official, but sent offerings to the two Yasukuni festivals that have taken place since he took office. last October. He, along with Emperor Naruhito, will attend a separate secular ceremony later today.

Abe was the last prime minister in recent memory to visit Yasukuni while in office, in 2013 – a visit that outraged China and South Korea and even drew rebukes from its close ally the United States. United.

The United States and Japan have become staunch security allies in the decades since the war’s end, but its legacy still haunts East Asia.

Koreans, who mark the date as National Liberation Day, resent Japan’s colonization of the peninsula from 1910 to 1945, while China has bitter memories of the invasion and occupation of some parts of the country by imperial troops from 1931 to 1945. -Reuters

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