Shinzo Abe sends offering to Tokyo’s controversial shrine on World War Two anniversary

Vastavam web: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Wednesday, the anniversary of Japan’s World War Two surrender, but did not visit in person.Past visits by Japanese leaders to Yasukuni have outraged China and South Korea because the shrine honours 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, along with war dead.

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masahiko Shibayama, who made the offering on Abe’s behalf, said the prime minister asked him to pray for the souls of the departed and that Abe regretted being unable to pay his respects in person.China’s relations with Japan have long been haunted by what Beijing sees as Tokyo’s failure to atone for its occupation of parts of China before and during World War Two, although ties have thawed somewhat recently. Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945 and bitter memories still rankle.

Akihito, 84, has carved out an active role as a symbol of peace, democracy and reconciliation during his three decades on the throne, visiting wartime battlefields to pray for the war dead of all nationalities.Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japanese fought World War Two, stopped visiting Yasukuni after the wartime leaders were first honoured by the shrine in 1978, and Akihito does not pay his respects there.