World Bulletin / News Desk
Japan’s defense minister paid a visit Thursday morning to a war-linked shrine, drawing criticism from South Korea.
Tomomi Inada paid her respects at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine after accompanying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a visit to Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, the site of the Dec. 7, 1941 surprise Japanese aircraft carrier attack that led to the United States joining World War II.
Thursday’s visit was Inada’s first since becoming defense minister in August, though she had previously paid respects regularly at the site -- which also honors 14 war criminals convicted by the Allies in the trials that followed the war.
"Japan and the United States, which waged the harshest battles, are now in the strongest alliance relationship,” Inada told reporters after the visit.
“I paid respects to report (to the war dead) about such a thing and in hopes of building peace for Japan and the world from a future-oriented standpoint," she was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.
Regarding the possibility that her visit may be criticized by other countries, she said, “I think that no matter what their historical views are and whether they were friends or foes, they understand my paying respects to those who dedicated their lives to their country."
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry responded to the move by describing it as "deplorable" while its Defense Ministry expressed "deep concern and regret".
The Yasukuni Shrine has been a source of tension between Japan and its neighbors, particularly South Korea and China.
Visits by Japanese officials to Yasukuni, including one by PM Abe in December 2013, have drawn criticism as they are viewed as a sign of Japan failing to atone for its past "imperialist aggression".
Conservative politicians in the country have been accused of repeatedly downgrading previous statements of apology.
Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor earlier this week came seven months after President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. leader to visit Hiroshima, the site of the atomic bomb attack on Aug. 7, 1945 that effectively ended World War II.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Aralık 2016, 09:24