Posted by: bklunk | February 15, 2007

Interesting Choice

Yasukuni War Shrine’s Influence in Southeast Asian Politics « International Humanity

International Humanity is looking at Sino-Japanese relations.

The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is dedicated to about 2.5 million
people who have died in Japan’s conflicts between 1853 and 1945. 

Because this shrine honors those who have fought and died in
Japanese wars, including Kamikaze pilots and those who have fought
against countries such as Korea and China, naturally, the Prime
Minister of Japan’s visiting of this shrine would be a cause of alarm
for those countries whom Japan has fought against in the past.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had prayed at the Yasukuni war shrine several times during his rule in office.

On one occasion of visiting the war shrine, former Prime Minister
Koizumi told reporters, “I don’t go there to repeat the past war and
justify the war. We should not forget the sacrifices made by those who
fell for the country.”

A Cause for Dispute -Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi praying at Yasukuni war shrine.

Japan’s relations with China and Korea have been strained for the
past five years because of Koizumi’s frequent visits to the Koizumi
Shrine. Prime Minister Abe, however, is taking a new approach to the
Yasukuni war shrine and has not yet made a visit during his term in

Abe’s new attitude can be seen as one reason for Chinese Foreign
Minister Li Zhaoxing’s arrival in Japan, today, February 15 2007.  He
is planning to prepare the scene for Chinese Prime Minister Wen
Jiabao’s coming to Japan in this coming April to discuss with Japan the
recent North Korean pact that was agreed upon yesterday.

Overall, because of Abe’s insightful decision to not visit the
controversial Yasukuni war shrine during his time in office, meetings
like this with countries that view the war shrine as a symbol of
Japanese aggression may be more likely to take place.

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  1. Taking into consideration the religious practices of the Japanese and their rich culture, it should not be shocking or seen as offensive behavior if the Japanese people visit shrines such as the Yasukuni shrine mentioned in the article. It is, however, understandable that the emphasis placed on this shrine for honoring those who blatantly acted out in wartime efforts would be seen as a threatening act. It conjures up a history of conflict. There is somewhat of an oxymoron taking place when leaders slowly work on peaceful co-existence while at the same time one of those leaders is paying tribute to those whose actions were a part of the strife between nations in the past. I agree, however, that the Chinese Prime Minister’s planned visit is a good sign for Japanese and Chinese future relations. It appears that by not yet visiting the shrine, the new Japanese Prime Minister has displayed to the Chinese his willingness to work towards more consistent relations with neighboring countries.

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