Abe visits Yasukuni shrine; calls it pledge against war

Picture expired. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is led by a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on Thursday. REUTERS

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  • 2

    YongYang

    Just as Japan's carmakers have got their products moving again in terms of sales in -notably- China. Interned 'souls' needn't cause trouble, why not move the 14 'souls' elsewhere?

  • 13

    powderb

    Just unnecessarily antagonistic.

    I've seen ceremonies in the past where Shinto priests have moved spirits to new locations. Why not do that here?

    Let's not forget that the 14 war criminals were enshrined only relatively recently.

  • 1

    doedel

    He sure has a way to make friends.

  • 11

    Graham DeShazo

    What a mess. The nut-job wing of the LDP are incapable of realizing the damage this does.

    This is the type of incident that makes it difficult for moderate realists to argue in favor of Japan's legitimate security concerns.

    Thanks Abe-chan. Thanks a lot.

  • 8

    BurakuminDes

    It really makes you wonder why dodgy Abe couldn't have visited this place in his private time instead of making an international spectacle by notifying all the media in advance and oddly dressing up in a British-style pinstriped suit for the occasion.

    You will reap what you have sown, Abe.

  • 1

    plasticmonkey

    determine that never again will people suffer in war,

    Notice the careful wording. Abe deliberately avoids saying that Japan will never again let chauvinistic arrogance and hubris inflict suffering upon millions of people across Asia.

    I do not believe that Japan is in imminent danger of repeating its past mistakes. What bothers me (and should bother Japanese themselves) is how intent Abe and his ilk are to deny that these mistakes ever took place.

    That is dangerous enough.

    As for Kishida:

    I believe we must avoid letting an affair as such develop into a political or diplomatic issue.

    How disingenuous. The only reason for these politicians visiting Yasukuni is to make a political statement, just as the enshrinement of the Class A war criminals in the 1970s was political.

    Yasukuni is not Arlington.

  • -12

    splksgt96

    Here is finally a Japanese P M with balls. He does what he thinks without regard to China or the Koreas.

  • 2

    Gengar

    Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the government hoped Abe's visit would not further affect ties.

    I was eating when i read this, could of died laughing.

  • -6

    Asianhometown

    Abe is taking Japan to war. Maybe not now but in few years and like past wars, the Japanese people will end up suffering. He is using China as a escape goat to build up his arm forces. It's a repeat of WWII when the Germans after the defeat of WWI rearmed and lead the world into darkness. Now Japan is repeating the same mistake.

  • 0

    pochan

    Here is finally a Japanese P M with balls

    does he have balls to finish what he started or is he going to run and hide behind America's skirt? This man is dangerous.

  • -2

    noriyosan73

    Surveys, media reports, and sushi bar discussions all say the same thing: Abe should go there because there is absolutely no reason Japan should value China's, SK's and NK's opinion about this visit. Get over it neighbors and remember, "Every time someone points a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back." Their opinion will never change and there is no possible way to change it. As long as Japan gives recognition to it, the longer it will exist.

  • -13

    homleand

    I salute you Mr Abe, for doing the right thing by your countrymen.

  • 1

    karjai

    south korea and china will condemn Abe soon.

  • -6

    plasticmonkey

    He does what he thinks without regard to China or the Koreas.

    Look what happened the last time Japan took that attitude.

  • -3

    GW

    Stupid stupid stupid!

    When will the locals realize the damage these morons inflict on their people/country.........since the people don't seem to care they will reap what they sow!

  • -2

    Cricky

    It's 2014 soon really do we need this jumbo jumbo, what a tool. He is as guilty as his grandfather driving Japan towards disaster.

  • 3

    yokohamarides

    *“I think it’s quite natural for a Japanese leader to offer prayer for those who sacrificed their lives for their country, and I think this is no different from what other world leaders do,” *he said.

    If he said, "...to offer a prayer to those whose lives were sacrificed BY their countrys leaders for misguided nationalist reasons."- there wouldnt be a problem.

  • 0

    Jeffrey Rolek

    Well, it finally happened.

  • 0

    Guy Fawkes

    China, Japan or South Korea. Take your pick. All three lack tact and common sense.

  • -5

    tinawatanabe

    International community who go along with China & SouthKorea about this. Your country doesn't take anything positively on your wars in front of souls? Yasukuni shrine is where soldiers' souls are. What do you expect the accompaning Yushukan to depict the wars?

  • 0

    bilderberg_2015

    The more the outside world kicks up a fuss about these visits, the more frequent the likes of Abe are going to continue visiting. The Japanese will never be dictated to by non-Japanese. Simple as that. It's the same for the issue of whaling.

  • 7

    Kabukilover

    Abe says: "“I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticize a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshiping war criminals, but I made my visit to pledge to create an era where people will never suffer from catastrophe in war.” First off, Yasukumi is not only a memorial that includes war criminals but also a repository of false history that whitewashes Japan's past imperialism and military aggression. Second of all, Abe's "pledge" is rubbish. That era where people don't have to suffer war has been Japan's since 1945 thanks to Article 9. One can only hope that era can survive Abe.

    Japan cannot stop wars around the world. The best it can do is to not get involved in wars and hold itself put as an example. Japan's peace constitution has been beacon of hope around the world for nearly seven decades. But Abe wants to destroy Article 9.

    No one with even half a brain is going to buy Abe's rhetoric. And this visit to Yasukumi is guaranteed to further anger the people with whom Japan needs to mend fences for its own good.

    The sooner we are rid of Abe and the LDP the better.

  • 4

    AKBfan

    Was inevitable i guess. Still think he should have the right to go where he wants but this is not reallty very sensible. s'pose Chine glorifying Mao and so on is nnot much different but that is not how they see it.

  • -3

    ReformedBasher

    “I think it’s quite natural for a Japanese leader to offer prayer for those who sacrificed their lives for their country, and I think this is no different from what other world leaders do,” he said.

    I agree. Why should Japan be any different to other countries?

    Those who claim that Japan is going down the road to what it was in WW2 worry me a lot more than Japan itself does. Do you seriously believe it or do you think it somehow adds weight to your "well-thought-out" arguments? Perhaps you also think that any moment now France will march across Europe again or Britain will recolonize North America?

  • 1

    JoeBigs

    Bravo Zulu to Prime Minister Abe, he should do this every month!

    I wonder when will the Chinese stop going to Mao's tomb, the man killed over to 50 million of his countrymen and they just don't care.

    Next Korea and their war crimes in the Korean war and Vietnam war, when will their people stop visiting their war museums?

    They won't because both nations hide the truth from the masses.

    All nations have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, Japan is the only one that can honestly say they haven't in 60 years.

  • 6

    pochan

    All nations have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, Japan is the only one that can honestly say they haven't in 60 years.

    No there are lots of countries that haven't committed war crimes in the last sixty years

  • 7

    theeastisred

    I wish people would stop referring to Yasukuni as the repository of the souls of the war dead, "including" the executed war criminals. The war criminals by definition are not war dead, as they did not die in the war. It is also silly and dishonest for politicians like Abe to pretend they don't understand why some of Japan's former enemies are upset by the visits.

    The solution is to either remove the names of the war criminals and return Yasukuni to its intended and proper role as a memorial for war dead, or to stop all visits by public figures and instead make the visits to the non-controversial Chidorigafuchi memorial. Either of those would instantly remove any reason anybody in China, S. Korea or elsewhere may have to complain. The issue of fairness and true justice regarding those deemed war criminals would not be addressed by this solution, but the international points of contention would be removed permanently.

  • 4

    Kabukilover

    Consider If Angela Merkel honored the Nazi war dead somewhere and said it was in the name of peace. This is exactly what Abe is doing. His convoluted rhetoric aside, Abe has been hell-bent on turning Japan into a warfare state. You do not need a crystal ball to see war in Japan's future if Abe and company are not removed from power as soon as possible.

  • 9

    banz10

    Yasukuni ceased serving its intended purpose to honour the war dead the moment the nationalists decided to enshrine the war criminals there. Now it's considered a symbol of Imperial Japan, justifying its aggressive militaristic past and whitewashing the shameful atrocities it committed. China and the Koreas may behave peculiarly at times but are completely within their rights to denounce visits there by Japanese politicians. Abe is a disgrace. Millions died in Asia as a direct result of that colonial mindset and let's not forget that millions died in Japan as well. And for what? A failed attempt at realising an archaic ideology of racial and cultural supremacy. This is the consequence of empowering neocons like PM Abe, whose grandfather was imprisoned for his dirty war contributions, and FM Aso, whose powerful family used POW slaves in their mines. No wonder Abe's statements of peace are treated with the cynicism they deserve.

  • 5

    Tohka

    Not such a great idea, Abe-san.

    People need to start making visiting Chidorigafuchi the new "in" thing. At that point hopefully idiots like Abe might actually catch on, but ... one can only hope!

  • -1

    lucabrasi

    @Joe Bigs

    "All nations have committed... crimes against humanity, Japan is the only one that can honestly say they haven't in sixty years."

    Assuming you're correct, though I doubt it, why then visit the shrine of people who committed crimes against humanity sixty years ago?

    Your logic is very twisted....

  • 5

    zichi

    Time to call the "Soul Busters!"

  • -1

    Vincehwr

    If he wants to go to the Yasukuni Shrine that badly, why not go privately?

    Isn't it goddamn predictable how South Korea and China would react? I find this political squabble tiring where it benefits nobody.

  • -4

    CGB Spender

    A slap into China's and South Korea's face with the satin glove. Strangely, no other East Asian country seems to have trouble with this visit. In any case, Abe knows how to play the cards of politics right. Contrary to the belief of most commenters here, this does not involve bending down to an expansionist neighbor bully.

  • -7

    The_True

    i think is American fault!! The Japanese are hiding behind the US defence umbrella, if tomorrow the US cancel that agreement i guaranty all the LDP chicken-hawk stop doing this kind of things.

    as much as everything else.

    why you think they think twice before doing this kind things to the Russian? because they know the Russia is the only country the US is not going to get into war over then..

  • -2

    mikihouse

    Except for Korea and China, no other countries who suffered under Japanese invasion are protesting and had never protested.

    China and Korea's tie will not change anyway, its already bad as it is. If he doesn't go, its the same thing. So better it done and done with a flash.

  • -6

    tinawatanabe

    For the last seven years, Japan PMs have refrained from visiting the shrine, but that did not help improve the relationship with China & South Korea. No matter what effort Japan has made, they just bullied Japan.

  • 10

    Guillaume Varès

    Aren't there already annual secular memorial activities at the Budokan and the memorial Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery? So why go to a highly controversial Shinto site? Of course, this is purely a political statement and a signal sent to nationalist groups.

  • 1

    YankeeX

    Wow. On the anniversary of Mao ZeDong's birthday too. Abe is flashing his true colors more and more. To bad for Japanese carmakers!

  • -11

    CH3CHO

    plasticmonkeyDec. 26, 2013 - 12:25PM JST

    What bothers me (and should bother Japanese themselves) is how intent Abe and his ilk are to deny that these mistakes ever took place.

    What do you mean? Are you saying that Abe denies WW2 ever happened?

    AsianhometownDec. 26, 2013 - 12:29PM JST

    Abe is taking Japan to war. Maybe not now but in few years and like past wars, the Japanese people will end up suffering.

    Against which country is he leading Japan to a war?

    KabukiloverDec. 26, 2013 - 01:23PM JST

    First off, Yasukumi is not only a memorial that includes war criminals but also a repository of false history that whitewashes Japan's past imperialism and military aggression. Second of all, Abe's "pledge" is rubbish. That era where people don't have to suffer war has been Japan's since 1945 thanks to Article 9. One can only hope that era can survive Abe.

    What kind of "false history" are you criticizing? Are you saying Article 9 created peace?

    I am more afraid of blind criticism from some of the people here. I do not support Abe and am critical of him. But seeing criticism against Abe from the point of willful misunderstanding is scary for it is a proof that malignant propaganda is working to those people .

  • 1

    ivanthegreat

    As a PM, he is making a political statement on behalf Japan.

  • 3

    zootmoney

    Abe knows how to play the cards of politics right

    I get the feeling he's tipped his hand. A poker player, he is not. There are more subtle ways of dealing with Chinese expansionism without further empowering the Chinese government with its previously disconsolate citizens. And last, but not least, my company are very worried about business visits to Shanghai after the New Year.

  • 8

    jackdl

    No to Abe's war propaganda!

    This is Abe's Christmas present to the Japanese working class. The promise of another war. Abe prays "for those who sacrificed their lives for their country" while he plots to send more children of the working class to sacrifice their lives for the profits and markets of the rich Japanese and US capitalists.

  • 9

    Probie

    “I chose this day to report to enshrined spirits what we have done in the year since the administration launched and to pledge and determine that never again will people suffer in war,” he told reporters at the shrine.

    I don't know which is worse. That he is a war-baiting nationalist idiot; or that he believes in all that spiritual woo.

  • 10

    daito_hak

    @ReformedBasher

    I think it's quite natural for a Japanese leader to offer prayer for those who sacrificed their lives for their country, and I think this is no different from what other world leaders do,” he said.

    I agree. Why should Japan be any different to other countries?

    No, precisely that's wrong!!! Japan constitution clearly defines the secularity of the state. Article 20:

    >Article 20 [Freedom of Religion, Secularity of the State] (1) Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. (2) No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority. (3) No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice. (4) The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.

    Abe is the representation of the state and the government and has nothing to do in a shinto shrine as long as he's the prime minister of Japan. He's shamefully violating the Japanese constitution and I call it disgusting that some politicians elected under the condition for respect of the constitution can just violate it so easily in this country.

    And I find it funny that you mention France because France has also a secular constitution and you will never see the president or any government member making the show in front of the media in a church.

    Then comes the problem of what Yasukuni represents and I think it's a mistake to reduce this problem to China or South Korea. Today Yasukuni is the representation of a deny of the horrific war crimes made against some populations wherever they are from, that doesn't matter. It just happens that they were Chinese or Koreans, but the core of the issue here is that Yasukuni is the representation of crimes perpetuated against humanity.

    It didn't aim to be that, but dangerous nationalists made it so by changing it to a place which revises historical facts about those crimes and the place where war criminals were enshrined. We are talking here about war criminals responsible for mass murdering and slaving innocent population. Wake up people!

    How could anybody sane enough with a minimum of education defend that a prime minister of a supposedly democratic nation which constitution fully embraces the principle of human rights can go and stand in front of war criminals in a place that is the representation of war crimes revisionism by nationalists? Please.....

    Abe should be shame, Japan should be shame and Japanese should be shame of their government.

  • 2

    Vernie Jefferies

    I watched his arrival the shrine live on television, and I never seen so much security before. They even had his Japanese Secret Service running along outside with his motorcade. You can really feel the tension.

  • -11

    CH3CHO

    daito_hakDec. 26, 2013 - 03:33PM JST

    Today Yasukuni is the representation of a deny of the horrific war crimes made against some populations wherever they are from, that doesn't matter.

    Why is Yasukuni a denial? The charges against the 14 Class A war criminals are the acts of starting WW2 in the Pacific and Asia, which the prosecutors from Allies called crime against peace. How can Yasukuni commemorate WW2 war dead while denying WW2? What is scary for me is that there are so many people who are willfully misunderstanding the issue.

  • 11

    CraigHicks

    Emperor Hirohito quit visiting the Yasukuni shrine after the 1978 enshrinement of the executed war criminals, because he objected to it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/world/asia/26iht-japan.1.5447598.html

    His son, Emperor Akihito, has also never visited Yasukuni. On this one, I'm siding with the direct descendants of Ameterasu Okami because I belive they are concerned with the welfare of Japan on the millenia level, whereas Abe is playing a game of instantaneous gratification.

  • 1

    sighclops

    Simply disgraceful.

    Whilst I believe Abe has done a lot of good for the country over the past 12 months, this is definitely stoking the fire in terms of ties with our neighbours. I honestly wonder if half these politicians are actually aware of the full-extent of Japan's atrocities in WW2?!

  • -2

    hidingout

    I watched his arrival the shrine live on television, and I never seen so much security before. They even had his Japanese Secret Service running along outside with his motorcade. You can really feel the tension.

    Yet we will continue to have people post their "idea" that the PM should "just go in his private time". It beggars belief that anyone could be so stupid as to think that the PM could visit Yasukuini at any time of the day or night and not have it turn into a circus. Like it matters what car he went in or what kind of pants he was wearing.

    Abe is the representation of the state and the government and has nothing to do in a shinto shrine as long as he's the prime minister of Japan. He's shamefully violating the Japanese constitution and I call it disgusting that some politicians elected under the condition for respect of the constitution can just violate it so easily in this country.

    Many leaders from many democracies (all with similar freedom of religion clauses in their constitutions) can be seen attending one off events at churches, mosques, synagogues etc. Many of them are even seen on TV participating in rituals like prayer. Nobody for a minute thinks these leaders are participating in earnest or attempting to subvert the constitution. Attending an event at a facility does not rise to the level of "extending privilege, exercising authority, educating or compelling others to participate.

  • -5

    ReformedBasher

    No there are lots of countries that haven't committed war crimes in the last sixty years

    All 5 members of the UN Security Council have committed war crimes since WW2. But if you are going to be petty, most countries that haven't been to war recently, or at least haven't had border disputes, include European city states and Pacific/Caribbean islands states. Hardly an impressive list.

    68 years is a long time. Abe's grandfather was involved in the war, and Abe is old enough to be a be a grandfather himself. That is 5 generations!

    It's time Japan stood up for itself and I'm glad it's starting to do so.

  • 0

    daito_hak

    The charges against the 14 Class A war criminals are the acts of starting WW2 in the Pacific and Asia, which the prosecutors from Allies called crime against peace.

    What is scary is that people write such statement. They weren't found only guilty for starting a war, they were found guilty for crimes against humanity which I hope you understand, goes beyond crime against peace. That's an historical fact.

    How can Yasukuni commemorate WW2 war dead while denying WW2?

    First I didn't write that Yasukuni denies WW2, please read properly. And anyway what denying WW2 means? It makes not sense.

    Yasukuni doesn't commemorate the victims of the WW2 in the sense of universal humanity. It commemorate the Japanese victims of the WW2, primarily soldiers. That's a big difference. Yasukuni doesn't recognize the victims of the Japan oppression against foreign populations during the WW2, it's even a place for revisionism about this subject. Do you deny that? Do you deny that Yasukuni is the representation of revisionism regarding the crimes perpetuated by Japan against innocent population? Do you deny that people found guilty for crimes against humanity have been enshrined in Yasukuni?

    I don't think so.

  • 1

    cracaphat

    What a wimp tis Abe.Going now is only for self satisfaction and for what point? If he had any balls, he'd have gone in August a la Koizumi.Now is just unnecessary provocation that the U.S. could do without too,particularly as they are supporting Japan.

  • 1

    pochan

    All 5 members of the UN Security Council have committed war crimes since WW2.

    I'm not disputing that, I am disputing that he said** ALL** nations. Why do you feel the need to twist my words and pick a fight with something I didn't say. I was replying to a false comment from someone else. Why the need to argue a point that was not addressed to you and twisting something I said. FFS why can't you leave it alone.

  • 11

    zichi

    The charges against the 14 Class A war criminals are the acts of starting WW2 in the Pacific and Asia, which the prosecutors from Allies called crime against peace.......

    they were found guilty of waging aggressive and unprovoked war against China, America, British Commonwealth, Netherlands, France and Indo China, USSR.

    In addition, why were found guilty of: Count 54: "ordered, authorized, and permitted" inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others. Count 55: "deliberately and recklessly disregarded their duty" to take adequate steps to prevent atrocities.

  • -7

    CrisGerSan

    Finally Abe stood up for his own rights and the rights of all Japanese to honour their OWN history in their OWN country in their OWN way. No other nation in the world has to endure so much patronizing and belittleing negative projection and attacks as Japan over this issue. No other nation in the world is treated as if it has no right to its history and the dedication and the sincerity of its past citizens. We of the present have no right to judge the past, we do not know the full extent of the trials, the pressures and the hopes and dreams of the past, and it is right and just and correct and finally about time for Abe to honour the war dead, as any nation does and can.

    China has not right to preach to others, when their own hands are dripping with the blood of millions of their own people killed in the destruction of the farm culture during the Cultural Revolution, with the invasion and conquest and subjegation of Tibet and with their recent blatant attempts to invade and seize territory from every single one of its neighbors.

    Yes the war was bad in many ways and had tragic events. Japan is disavowed and renounced those events over and over and still other people with their own motives and politcal goals use the past to try to belittle and berate Japan and to gain power and influence. No one's hands were clean in WWII from attrocities and massive violation of human rights far far greater than what Japan may have done. I dont see China telling the Soviet Union or the United States not to honour their war dead or Great Britian for that matter yet they all carried out terrible attacks on civilians on a massive scale that is far larger than anything that Japan was involved in.

    Selective history is a common tool of propaganda.

    I am glad Abe has the courage and dignity to go, and that he did go. It helps show China that Japan is not a junior member of the Pacific community that has to bow to the unjust and belittling demands of bellicose neighbors any more.

    I am hopeful that this will help show the Chinese that they cannot browbeat and bully Japan any more.

  • -3

    kaiser90

    Several months ago, I said here "Japanese politicians will never stop visiting Yasukuni no matter what you guys say"(Check my past comments). So Abe is visiting Yasukuni now.

    I repeat it that Japanese politicians will never stop visiting Yasukuni no matter what you guys (foreigners) say.

  • 4

    zichi

    More war crimes court trials took place in other SE Asian countries than the more known Tokyo War Crimes Trial. More than 1,000 members of the Imperialist forces were executed.

  • 2

    80393

    I dont see China telling the Soviet Union or the United States not to honour their war dead or Great Britian for that matter yet they all carried out terrible attacks on civilians on a massive scale that is far larger than anything that Japan was involved in.

    @chrisgersan- a source for this nonsense please (soviet union aside)

  • -2

    ReformedBasher

    @chrisgersan- a source for this nonsense please (soviet union aside)

    The Internet, how does it work?

  • 3

    banz10

    CrisGerSan, you make some valid arguments, such as Japan not bowing to "bellicose neighbours". But like many Japan apologists (which you seem to be), you're completely missing the point of what Abe visiting Yasukuni actually represents. If you think it's about honouring war dead you're very naive. Tens of millions died as a result of the kind of nationalism that Abe and Yasukuni staunchly and unashamedly defend. That's not "selective history", that's a fact. You hope that this will "show the Chinese that they cannot browbeat and bully Japan any more" and in general I share that sentiment. But all it's done is give them a sense of vindication that Japan is not and has never been contrite about its past aggression and that it cannot be trusted.

  • -2

    ReformedBasher

    @pochan

    FFS why can't you leave it alone.

    I'm so sorry. I didn't realize you were into repressing free speech.

    @daito_hak

    Sorry to you also. Missed your reply. But since I don't have time to write long comments - Not everyone at Yasukuni is a war criminal, soldiers or otherwise. You can jump up and down but them's the facts.

  • 0

    plasticmonkey

    There's a lot of justification on this thread for Abe's visit, simply on the basis of China's lack of moral authority to speak on this subject. Sure, China is a bully and a hypocrite. However, one of the biggest obstacles to a solution is that the news media (especially here) frame the Yasukuni issue mostly in terms of what its neighbors think about these visits.

    Why are the Japanese themselves not having frank public debates about what Yasukuni means to Japan? I am sure that many of the souls enshrined at Yasukuni, could they speak, would be expressing some profound distress at being used as an apologetic for the horrors they were compelled to commit in the name of state Shinto militarism.

  • 3

    JoeBigs

    lucabrasiDec. 26, 2013 - 02:15PM JST Assuming you're correct, though I doubt it, why then visit the shrine of people who committed crimes against humanity sixty years ago? Your logic is very twisted....

    Okay, had to do a double take on your logic. People? You mean the so called souls of the 14 men who were deemed class A war criminals? Souls, not bones, not bodies, not even souls, just names and you find it offensive? Mao's stuffed corpse is in a tomb guarded round the clock and he killed off more than 50 million of his own people, where is your outrage?

    Korea committed war crimes in Korea and Vietnam, so where is your outrage for their war memorial or the North Korean war memorial?

    Or do you only have selective outrage?

    The place is a place where Japanese, all Japanese can come and remember those that fought and died for their nation.

    It is not a place for to worship 14 war criminals as gods. I have been there a few times and found nothing wrong with it.

    pochanDec. 26, 2013 - 01:49PM JST No there are lots of countries that haven't committed war crimes in the last sixty years

    And Japan is one of them........China, South Korea and North Korea cannot make that claim.

  • -1

    ReformedBasher

    @Joe

    Or do you only have selective outrage?

    Selective outrage seems to be popular around here.

  • 1

    jojotoday

    Why are the Japanese themselves not having frank public debates about what Yasukuni means to Japan?

    Because like it or not, having debates and questioning things is not the Japanese way.

  • -4

    plasticmonkey

    having debates and questioning things is not the Japanese way.

    Tired cliche. The media is afraid of getting too deeply into this one because they get death threats from right wing thugs if they do. Spare me the cultural relativism bull.

  • -4

    pochan

    Selective outrage seems to be popular around here.

  • 0

    falseflagsteve

    Who cares? He's only popping out to visit a shrine, nothing to see here. Get on with enjoying your holiday time with your families.

  • -4

    lucabrasi

    @Joe

    You are the only person using the word "outrage". I'm not outraged, just a bit sad that Abe is choosing to behave in this fashion. The fact that Mao killed millions and Korea committed atrocities in Vietnam has absolutely zero to do with the rights and wrongs of Yasukuni. As I'm sure you're well aware....

  • -4

    kuuku

    Abe is still not the right man for the job, the next election should give way for more reasonable Japanese to take on this post and break away with this nonsense visits...keeping in mind that not only s.korea or china were being killed like dogs during WWII.

  • 0

    ka_chan

  • -1

    T_rexmaxytime

    Excellent move by PM ABE-san. FANTASTIC!!!

  • -2

    CH3CHO

    plasticmonkeyDec. 26, 2013 - 05:14PM JST

    Why are the Japanese themselves not having frank public debates about what Yasukuni means to Japan?

    What? You must be new to Japan. Yasukuni has been a big big political issue in Japan for the last 68 years.

  • 1

    mitoguitarman

    It would be similar to Merkel going to worship Goebbels and Goering. It's ridiculous for a politician in Abe's position to be honoring war criminals of this caliber. Just move the evil ones.

  • -1

    mshrktn

    The biggest problem in Japan is there were no dictators during WWII. They had almost proper democratic politic system and most of the Japanese agreed with the war. That's why it is so hard for them to recognize class-A war which was decided by the victorious countries criminals as cruel people. For them such kind of people are same as the other warriors who lost their lives for the current people.

  • -5

    tinawatanabe

    Even America is critisizing Japan. I'm really disappointed with America. Why can they realize by now that not-visiting the shrine only makes China & South Korea more aggressive.

  • -8

    Jay Que

    Good for Abe! As the 54 yr old son of a WWII vet -- Dad would have been 96 now had he lived longer -- I have visited Yasukuni shrine more than once and have prayed there. God bless America and Japan. -- Joe Quinn, New York City

  • 1

    Magnet

    Visiting a shrine dedicated to war criminals to pay homage is a pledge against war? Wow... This guy is more confused than I thought.

  • -4

    CH3CHO

    zichiDec. 26, 2013 - 04:19PM JST

    The charges against the 14 Class A war criminals are the acts of starting WW2 in the Pacific and Asia, which the prosecutors from Allies called crime against peace.......

    they were found guilty of waging aggressive and unprovoked war against China, America, British Commonwealth, Netherlands, France and Indo China, USSR.

    In addition, why were found guilty of: Count 54: "ordered, authorized, and permitted" inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others. Count 55: "deliberately and recklessly disregarded their duty" to take adequate steps to prevent atrocities.

    I know. But what is the definition of "Class A war criminals"? See Article 5 a "Crimes against Peace" of International Military Tribunal for the Far East Charter. http://www.jus.uio.no/english/services/library/treaties/04/4-06/military-tribunal-far-east.xml

    Or what is your definition of Class A war criminal?

    What I do not understand is why some people keep saying Yasukuni is a denial of war crimes.

  • -2

    kuuku

    I'm really disappointed with America. Why can they realize by now that not-visiting the shrine only makes China & South Korea more aggressive.

    i dont agree with that, i do think that if the yasukuni problem can be solved (just by not visiting or reforming everything inside), then the only one left might be the disputes which will make things a lot easier, but if disputes and yasukuni are mixed-up,,,i think that makes more load...maybe Abe wants more loads than making things easy for him and for japan...if china and S.Korea and US are against this, then leaders should be really concerned about that...and i don't think those are the only three countries to go against this, think about that..

  • 1

    lucabrasi

    @ Jay

    Nice to be there on the sidelines in New York, mindlessly cheering on the idiot who would drag us into war with China.

    Not so pleasant for those of us in the firing line.

  • -2

    CH3CHO

    MagnetDec. 26, 2013 - 07:14PM JST

    Visiting a shrine dedicated to war criminals

    Your understanding is wrong there. Yasukuni is not a shrine dedicated to war criminals.

  • -3

    roughneck

    You threaten us, we just visit our shrine to rub salt to your wound.

  • 8

    zichi

    The Yasukuni Shrine isn't only a shrine which houses "the souls of 2.5 million war dead, plus Class A, B and C war criminals." It also has a museum devoted to the country's war past. It denies and whitewashes its history.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in 1978, enshrined the names of those war criminals. There are no actual bodies or bones. An action it took without seeking advice or permission from the gov't.

    Figures like the Emperor and the Prime Minister when they visit this shrine don't represent themselves and their personal beliefs, they represent the whole country.

    Since the names of the Class A war criminals were added the Emperor has refused to visit. A wise decision but a string of prime ministers still go there,

    This shrine is also a very potent symbol for the far right and nationalists.

    There are about 2.6 million names but about 2.3 million of them are from the WWII.

    In Germany the top Nazi leaders were buried in unmarked unknown graves so they couldn't become monuments to Nazism.

    Once the names are added at the shrine they can't be removed so that's a fixed matter but the prime minister is not required to visit the shrine so while in office, just like the emperor should not.

  • -6

    chucky3176

    Those twelve convicted class A war criminals at Yasukuni were mostly convicted of crimes against Western allied POW's. All the other war criminals who committed crimes against humanity against Asians (mostly against Chinese and Koreans) were never prosecuted and never brought to justice.

    I honestly wonder if half these politicians are actually aware of the full-extent of Japan's atrocities in WW2?!

    Well it's not that they are not aware of full extent of Japan's WWII roles. Japan is very proud of Japanese military during WWII, and have the view that it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding that lead to war in which Japan was the victim, and that it happened not because Japan was militarily aggressive. This is the message that Yasukuni pushes which enrages Japan's neighbors. And most Japanese support their PM attending the shrine, as the polls show. Japan's historical views of itself is completely different from how the rest of the world views that war.

  • 2

    Simon Foston

    Mr. Abe calls it a "pledge against war," I call it shameless, insincere pandering to elderly right-wingers in order to milk them for votes and cash. He'd go in private without telling anyone if it was anything more than a PR exercise.

  • -6

    Masaki Miyamoto

    Prime Minister Abe should visit to pray to Yasukuni Jinja dignifiedly.

    If the U.S. President worships at Arlington burial, do people of Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq protest? It will not carry out.

    It is the lie propaganda of communist China and South Korea that exists.

    http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/borderjapan/imgs/6/8/6853a008.jpg

    Blue: The country which visited to pray to Yasukuni Shain

    Red: The country which is opposed to worship

  • -1

    JaneM

    @plasticmonkey: Why are the Japanese themselves not having frank public debates about what Yasukuni means to Japan?

    Let me guess. Because Yasukuni is the shrine which is the eternal home of more than 2.5 million Japanese who lost their lives in all wars Japan took part in (regardless of winning or losing) and it just so happens that 14 of the WWII criminals were enshrined there, too. But, the point for the Japanese is to pay respect to the souls of the dead, not to honor what they did in/with their lives. The souls should be left in peace. Usually nobody talks about the deeds of the dead, the alive only pray for the peace of the souls.

    Questions like yours only show how much misunderstanding and lack of knowledge there is regarding the traditions and rites of Shinto. For the Japanese Yasukuni is not what it is for the Chinese and the Koreans. The Japanese do not build shrines to glorify their dead - they build shrines to pray for the peace of the souls of those died, no matter how or why they died.

  • -6

    chucky3176

    Masaki Miyamoto, when did 2ch become a legitimate source for anything? Nicely colored map though.

  • 0

    Masaki Miyamoto

    This is the photograph at which the military man and head of every country in the world have worshipped.

    Of course, the U.S. has also visited to pray.

    http://cotodama-6000.iza.ne.jp/blog/entry/1747757/

  • -2

    realist

    This visit was not a "pledge against war" as Abe called it. It was a glorification of Japan's wartime atrocities and the vile people who committed some of the worst atrocities in human history. Utterly disgraceful.

  • -3

    CH3CHO

    chucky3176Dec. 26, 2013 - 08:27PM JST

    Those twelve convicted class A war criminals at Yasukuni were mostly convicted of crimes against Western allied POW's

    No, they were not. Class A war crime is defined as "crime against peace", which means act of starting a war. Class A trial is not about POW abuse.

    All the other war criminals who committed crimes against humanity against Asians (mostly against Chinese and Koreans) were never prosecuted and never brought to justice.

    China did their trial against Japanese war criminals in Nanjing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanjing_War_Crimes_Tribunal

    Of course Korea did not do the trial because it was an ally of Imperial Japan.

    chucky3176, you should learn the history. Koreans always say they know history and Japanese know nothing about history. I thought you are a Korean. I think you are exceptional.

  • 2

    Masaki Miyamoto

    There is only the war dead's name in Yasukuni Shain.

    The American Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State worshipped at the "Chidori-ga-Fuchi cemetery" with the war dead's bone at the time of 2+2 talk.

    In opposition to the worship to Yasukuni Shrine of only the war dead's name, it is not opposed to the war dead's bone worship of a Chidori-ga-Fuchi cemetery.

    It's contradictory. lol.

  • -4

    chucky3176

    I'm sorry CH3CHO, it is you who need to learn the history. At least the history that the rest of the world (outside of Japan) that is taught.

    > Of course Korea did not do the trial because it was an ally of Imperial Japan. chucky3176, you should learn the history.

  • 0

    Masaki Miyamoto

    @CH3CHO Nice Joke,

    Communist China is the October 1, 1949 founding of the country.

    South Korea is the August 15, 1948 founding of the country. It became independent of the U.S. occupied territory.

    World War II is the August 15, 1945 end of the war.

    These two countries are not related to WWII at all, and not a position in which it can complain.

  • -5

    banz10

    Chucky3176, you cannot be serious

    Japan has "the view that it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding that lead to war in which Japan was the victim, and that it happened not because Japan was militarily aggressive"

    Wow! Where do I start?

    Japanese militarism, colonial conquests, cowardly attacks, rapes, plunders and slaughters of innocent women and children were a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding were they? The fundamental lack of war history knowledge by the populace here is palpable but I doubt most of those that do have some awareness of events past would even remotely agree with your drivel. Well a few maybe, right wing nut jobs, nationalist warmongers and the like.

    The Japanese people, along with the innocent people of all nations dragged into this war were the victims, but certainly NOT Japan as a nation. It got what it deserved, annihilation and profound shame. Bad luck if you feel otherwise.

  • -7

    sangetsu03

    I had been willing to give Abe the benefit of a doubt, but no longer. He is obviously just another stupid fool in a party which is already overrun with stupid fools. If Abenomics was formulated with the same lack of sense Abe displayed today, good luck Japan.

  • -2

    hidingout

    If Mr Abe visited the shrine every week do you think some of the PRC/ROK leadership would become so apoplectic that they'd keel over and die? Cheap way to win a war. Just a thought.

  • 1

    Masaki Miyamoto

    @hidingout

    It's a very good idea.

    A beggar stops extorting from Japan.

    It's wonderful.

  • 0

    captainjohann

    As an Indian I feel this hue and cry is due to Japan being the defeated nation, the victors writing the history.In war untold miseries are inflicted by victors and Japan is no exception. But then Japan also supported Indian independence movement and Azad Hindu force led by Nethaji bose a man feared by the Britsh Imperialism. Japan must not bother for these criticisms and the visits should be routine.

  • -2

    sangetsu03

    The U.S. needs to choose.

    It is not the US which has the tough choice here, it is Japan.

    Abe is trying to fire up national pride and sentiment in order to motivate the country and encourage the people. He will do anything and everything except tie up the purse strings and cut off his cronies and special interests from the government spending trough. Unfortunately, his plan can't possibly work. It amounts to little more than putting new tires on a car that has no engine.

    I suppose the people will need some kind of motivation to keep them going after their government defaults on it's massive debts, and the world falls in on everyone's heads.

  • -6

    chucky3176

    banz10, that is the theme that is claimed by Yasukuni Shrine, where every year, men in old Japanese military uniforms with swords march in celebration of their past. It is the distortion of history which is more maddening about the shrine, than the buried war criminals. When Japanese politicians visit it, what they are saying is that that's what they believe, as representatives of Japan. And when Japanese people support them, as per many polls done recently, its is what Japan as a nation is saying.

  • -1

    windhoss

    Abe's visiting of Yasukuni shrine proved once again that Japan is far from a great country,and Japan maybe can't be a great country forever.Japan's leader lacks wisdom to win the respect from neighbors and tackle the dilemma.Maybe Japan never care the feelings of China and South Korea,but the fact is that China is always there and is so close with Japan geographically.Two people seat next to next and hate each other ,how bad it is!

  • -3

    chucky3176

    That's not what Yasukuni Shrine states. The shrine believes Japan fought for the yellow man, for the good of all Asians, against the evil Whites. And Japan didn't behave like every other "advanced" nation of the time. The UK, France, Holland, and Belgium weren't allied with Hitler's Nazi Germany. The Nazis were your allies, you dare to claim Japan was a normal democracy? Give me a break, OK?

    No. Japan behaved like every other "advanced" nation of the time. Like the UK, France Holland and Belgium, she sought to build an empire based on force. But , by not being white, she incurred the wrath of the West. No empires for yellow folk.

  • 2

    lucabrasi

    @chucky

    Jesus, calm down please. First of all, I'm English, so the Nazis weren't my allies, secondly , I'm not claiming that Japan was a democracy.

    What I'm saying is that Japan, like every other advanced nation, sought to build an empire. And because the Japanese weren't of the correct race (white), they were denied that opportunity by the US and the U K, among others.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Yeah, a "pledge against war" about as much as me punching you in the face and saying it's because I don't want to start a fight.

  • 0

    Simon Foston

    Prime Minister Abe should visit to pray to Yasukuni Jinja dignifiedly.

    Posts like this show the Japanese oligarchy's propaganda machine is working very well.

  • 0

    oldman_13

    It is his right to do so.

    China surely glorifies its own figures who have committed atrocities against others as well as its own people.

    Japan has every right to honor its war dead as does any other nation.

  • 1

    Fugacis

    Visiting Yasukuni as a "gesture of peace"? That's like doing a Sieg Heil as a gesture of anti-racism. Totally disingenuous.

  • 2

    CrisGerSan

    There are two main issues here.

    Japan and its past.

    Japan and the Present.

    I see many posts here confusing the two. As for the history, the causes of World War II in the Pacific, ie Japan vs the US are complex but are truly described in a few posts here: Japan was an Asian nation trying to assert itself in an identical way to how the US, Birtian, Germany, Russia and Holland attacked and exploited the region. Not a single difference, from their actions in any area including China. The British, French and Germans invaded China and exploited the entire country terribly and committed vast acts of aggression far worse than anything Japan did, but it is glossed over by the history being written by Europeans. Same for the United States, and how it treated the "natives'.

    As for the war, war is war, and terrible things happen, the facts are clear about the carpet bombing, and fire bombing of largely civilian cities in Japan, the terrible nature of the US war waged across the Pacific and the acts committed against cities all across Europe by both sides against each other.. The facts are everywhere available.

    Japan and the Present. Modern Japan is an urbane, cultured, sophisticated and very very strong country of much depth and quality. It has chosen a path of dignity and restraint, and has amply shown regret for the events of the past. But for their own reasons other Pacific nations and the US included continue to try to hold Japan accountable excessively for their own cultural and ideological purposes. Partly I believe it is envy and jealousy of the Japanese success and discipline and achievments that threaten other nations in their complacency such as the US and Korea..and even China. It is clear that China still has a long way to go to become a sopisticated modern nation able to live as an equal among its peers. Abe has and had every right and indeed an obligation to respect their war dead and I believe he made a difficult choice at the right time to show that Japan has the right to set its own course and destiny, and is not a puppet of the US or afraid of China.

    The facts are that China is still trying to project power in the same way that Japan did in the 1940s and that was proven morrally and politically wrong by a terrible war. I believe we will not see another war but I do believe it will take some hard knocks before China realizes that it cannot lord it over the rest of the Pacific.

    I am NOT an applogist for Japan, no one needs to so that, Japan needs no appology. It is a strong, proud and earnest nation of good will and great depth and character. I am surprised at the degree of racism, and biased ill will towards Japan that is shown here by a forum that I had thought was interested in and liked Japan. I hope in time more will realize how fortuante we are to have a nation like Japan, as it is, in the modern world.

  • 0

    Schopenhauer

    This is a very difficult problem. If you have or had a criminal in your family and he or she is buried in your family cemetery together with other members of your ancestors, do you not visit your grave since because the victims of the crime complain ?

  • 2

    sensei258

    Why not just stop reacting to the shrine and its visitors? Keeping the story in the press is what the Nationalists want.

  • -2

    honey

    Another nail in Japan's financial coffin.

  • 0

    JaneM

    CrisGerSan,

    True, but you will be called "apologist" as for some of the people here can never do right.

  • -2

    OssanAmerica

    Sir_EdgarDec. 28, 2013 - 12:37AM JST And HItler said there would be no war.

    Which is why China needs to be stopped from going that path.

  • -1

    Vast Right-Wing Conspirator

    The best answer yet is Japan telling China, "this is an internal matter and none of your business." A Japanese politician visits a Japanese shrine in Japan. Nothing to do with China. As well, the above "internal matter" is the perpetual excuse that China has used to cover up their very real crimes against their own people, human rights violations, and so on. Beijing has no credibility here.

  • -1

    OssanAmerica

    rsgz4gg7y2Dec. 28, 2013 - 09:09AM JST What Abe wants is obvious to any idiot. Any more words about peace just make him look more insincere.

    Except that it is China and China alone that is trying to take territory from it's neighbors and considered the biggest threat to peace in the region. Not Japan.

  • -1

    Tom Webb

    Be the man Mr Abe. Japan should do what is right. Honoring soldiers killed for the serving their country is a must for any nation. We must not condone illegal actions or war crimes, but we should honor soldiers' service to the country.

  • 4

    Typhoon Lee

    This Japanese Shrine (Yasukuni Shrine) is different from the regular Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ! The latter is a generalized memorial, not dedicated to any specific person, but the armed forces in general. But Yasukuni Shrine is totally different, it memorialises Japanese soldiers with specific names, and the worst is that it also includes the names of 14 Class-A documented war criminals (same level as Hilter, Joseph Goebbels, Goring, Himmler, etc), and the names of around 1000 Class-B war criminals. It is completely different from the regular unknown solder tombs in other countries !!!

    Think this way: this Japanese shrine is more the equivalent if Germany had a shrine dedicated to their fallen soldiers (with all their names listed in the Shrine). Well till now everything looks Okay if all names are of normal solders. However, what's unacceptable is that the Shrine also includes the names of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and so forth. It wouldn't be very diplomatic for the German Chancellor to visit a memorial and pay respects to a list of names that include Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler, now would it? Just remove these Class-A war criminal names from the shrine please !!

    Is it Okay for German Chancellor to visit a shrine which also includes Adolf Hitler's name (if there's one) or German choose to erect one. What would be the reaction from the Jewish community and western world??

  • 0

    Mike45

    "The Japanese is a fiercely proud people. The Samurai spirit is always in them"

    Oh boy, another generalization about Japan. Its not about pride, and the Japanese are not an especially proud people, more than any other country. . Many mistake group conformity and control with pride. During the post war years, there were many former "proud" IJA leaders who disowned their loyality to the countrys leadership. The reason Japan can never be like a Germany and forgive/forget is because their culture is diffierent. There is nobody to be held accountable, thus no reason to offer an appology. Who should apologize? To outsiders, this may seem childish, but its how things are done in Japan.

  • -3

    OssanAmerica

    Mike45Dec. 31, 2013 - 10:48PM JST "The Japanese is a fiercely proud people. The Samurai spirit is always in them" Oh boy, another generalization about Japan. Its not about pride, and the Japanese are not an especially proud >people, more than any other country. . Many mistake group conformity and control with pride

    You are absolutely correct. When I was a kid my Chinese friends had parents who immigrated from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and those who somehow managed to escape the Mainland communists. They had not one good word to say about the CCP "murders and thieves". Fast forward to today, many young people of Chinese ethnic background have no idea what the older generation went through, and confuse pride in being Chinese with supporting a totalitarian dictatorship that has most likely killed more Chinese than Imperial Japan did, And so they hang around Japan related websites and forums expounding CCP propaganda and J-vilification, without realizing just exactly what they are doing. That there are a great may Chinese in and out of China who are disgusted with the CCP regime.

  • 0

    gokai_wo_maneku

    After a new year's party tonight, I was walking past 東京大飯店 in Shinjuku (in Tokyo), and a large group of Chinese tourists were coming out to get on their buses. They were so happy (maybe they were drinking a little too much...), and they even greeted me. I am glad to see that Abe can't kill all the nice feelings between people.

  • 1

    ka_chan

    It is obvious that Japan does not teach truth of what occurred between 1937 and 1945. To suggest that the Germans were more brutal is ridiculous. Both Japan and Germany killed around 30 million men, women, and children. They both kill many in their own country. Japan sent school children to factories for the war effort. Of course the children of officials were sent out of harms way. Maybe some of you read the manga that was published in after the war and see who most people blamed for the war.

  • -1

    CraigHicks

    @Mike45 "... Oh boy, another generalization about Japan. .... The reason Japan can never be like a Germany and forgive/forget is because their culture is diffierent. There is nobody to be held accountable, thus no reason to offer an appology..."

    It seems to me you are making yet another generalization! The problem with generalizations how the people and actions who do not follow the convenient stereotype are completely ignored. Her is a list of some apologies by Japanese politicians and the emperor:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

    To overcome conflict also requires victims to exercise their ability to admit they have received an apology even if it is not as much as they would like. And so moderate Japanese have become alienated as they feel spurned.

  • 0

    Typhoon Lee

    @CraigHicks: okay, so let's assume Germany builds a similar shrine and put Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler's name inside (both are class-A war criminals, same as the 14 class-A war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine), would you be happy with that? And what would you predict the reactions from the whole world if German Chancellor visits and pays respect to such a shrine (if Germany would build it and put Hitler & Himmler's name inside)? Compare Japan with Germany, then you'll see what's wrong. Germany is at ease with its neighbors. Japan is not.

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