Japanese government party honours war criminals again


This video says about itself:

European right-wing politicians worship Japanese war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine

AFP – European right-wing politicians, including French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo on Saturday ahead of the anniversary of Japan’s surrender.

The shrine, which honours 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 top war criminals from World War II, has often been regarded as a symbol of Japan’s wartime aggression.

“It doesn’t bother me to honour veteran soldiers of a former enemy,” 82-year old Le Pen, who will retire in January 2011 after the party elects his successor, said Thursday. …

The ‘election’ turned out to be that Jean-Marie appointed his daughter Marine Le Pen as his successor.

The European politicians arrived in Tokyo earlier this week at the invitation of Japan’s Issui-kai movement, which organised a two-day conference to discuss the future of nationalist groups.

Among other participants were Adam Walker, the British National Party‘s number two, and other representatives from far-right parties of Austria, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Romania and Belgium.

From AFP news agency:

Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni war shrine on eve of Obama trip

By Agence France-Presse

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:04 EDT

Nearly 150 Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday paid homage at the Yasukuni shrine which honours the nation’s war dead, raising the stakes in an already tense region on the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit.

A cross-section of parliamentarians — including at least one cabinet minister — paid their respects at the shrine, which honours those who have fought for Japan including a number of senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes.

China and South Korea see the shrine as a symbol of what they say is Japan’s unwillingness to repent for its aggressive warring last century. The United States tries to discourage visits, which it views as unnecessary provocation.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said it “deplored” the mass visit as the shrine is a “place that enshrined war crimes that caused a war and destroyed peace.”

“I think it is such an empty gesture to talk about the future with neighbouring countries while paying respects to such a place,” ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young said.

Japan’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away from Yasukuni, having offered a symbolic gift on Monday at the start of the three-day spring festival.

However, the right-leaning minister for internal affairs and communications, Yoshitaka Shindo, was among the worshippers early Tuesday, paying his second visit in 10 days.

Shindo’s grandfather was General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, the figure sympathetically depicted by actor Ken Watanabe in Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima”.

The mass visit will inevitably further aggravate strained ties in East Asia, and could irritate the White House, coming the day before Obama arrives on the first leg of a four-nation trip which also includes South Korea.

Washington would desperately like Japan and South Korea — its two chief allies in the region — to bury the diplomatic hatchet and stand together against Beijing’s increasingly confident regional swagger and against unpredictable Pyongyang.

‘Like Arlington’

Abe’s own visit to the shrine on December 26 soon after a trip to Tokyo by US Vice President Joe Biden immediately sparked fury in Asia and earned him a slap on the wrist from Washington, which said it was “disappointed”.

The Japanese premier’s gift on Monday provoked a Chinese charge that he was offering “a slap in the face” to Obama.

Conservative lawmakers make regular trips to the shrine during spring and autumn festivals, and on the August 15 anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat.

They compare the site with Arlington National Cemetery in the US, where America’s war dead are honoured.

“Speaking personally, my father is enshrined here,” said Hidehisa Otsuji, an upper-house lawmaker who was at Yasukuni.

“The souls revered here are the people who lost their lives purely for the sake of the country.”

About 160 lawmakers visited the shrine during the spring and autumn festivals last year.

Sanae Takaichi, the policy chief of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, who went to the shrine as a member of the group, said politicians’ display of reverence should not provoke diplomatic difficulties.

“It happens to be the time for the spring festival,” she told reporters. “We welcome the US president’s visit to Japan from the heart.”

Others paying their respects at the shrine were some vice ministers and a special adviser for Abe, Seiichi Eto.

Chief Cabinet Secretary and Abe’s righthand man Yoshihide Suga said the administration would not interfere with shrine visits by members of the government.

“When a minister visits the shrine personally, it is a matter of an individual’s freedom of faith. The government should not step into it,” he said.

Justin Bieber apologises for visiting Yasukuni Shrine in Japan: Site at centre of international row honours convicted WWII war criminals: here.

Just days before US President Obama’s arrival today in Tokyo, the Japanese government provocatively announced the establishment of a new radar base on the southwestern island of Yonaguni—a move calculated to further raise tensions with China: here.

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