China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

It had been seven years since a sit­ting Ja­panese prime min­is­ter vis­ited the Ya­sukuni Shrine, a recog­ni­tion at the high­est lev­els that the site is sym­bol­i­cally re­pug­nant to China and South Korea and that such a visit is detri­men­tal to re­la­tions with them ... Abe’s ul­ti­mate goal was to re­write Ja­pan’s paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion, which re­stricts the right to go to war, it said, adding it was a move of which Ja­panese Em­peror Ak­i­hito dis­ap­proved. Hideki Tojo and 13 other “class A” war crim­i­nals from the Im­pe­rial Army’s dark­est days. Crit­i­cism flowed quickly from China, South Korea and the United States — a strange coali­tion that high­lights the en­dur­ing del­i­cacy of East Asian pol­i­tics nearly 70 years af­ter World War II. By vis­it­ing Ya­sukuni, Abe has made it clear that he does not in­tend to back down from a diplo­matic and even mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion with South Korea and China over the is­sue of white­wash­ing his coun­try’s war­time atroc­i­ties, Tokyo’s flimsy colo­nial claim to South Korea’s Dokdo islets and other ter­ri­to­rial is­sues. It is ob­vi­ous that he will push ahead with his rightwing agenda at all costs. If the prime min­is­ter vis­its it (Ya­sukuni Shrine), he can­not es­cape crit­i­cism that he is af­firm­ing its his­tor­i­cal recog­ni­tion. Still, if he vis­its the shrine in de­fi­ance of such crit­i­cisms, his act is noth­ing less than a dec­la­ra­tion of in­tent to turn his back to the post­war course fol­lowed by the Ja­panese peo­ple who vowed never to make war while mourn­ing the war dead. Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s visit to Ya­sukuni Shrine has stirred Ja­pan’s re­la­tions with China and South Korea. ...The sit­u­a­tion has stalled, with a path to im­prov­ing re­la­tions nowhere in sight. Bi­lat­eral sum­mit meet­ings be­tween Ja­pan and each of the two coun­tries have not been held since May last year.

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