- Title: Japanese visit controversial shrine on WW2 anniversary
- Date: 15th August 2021
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (AUGUST 15, 2021) (REUTERS) VISITORS WALKING TOWARDS YASUKUNI SHRINE
- Embargoed: 29th August 2021 10:55
- Keywords: Japan Tokyo WW2 anniversary controversial shrine former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EQE2FD3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thousands of Japanese residents and politicians, braved the pouring rain to pay their respects at Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Sunday (August 15), the 76th anniversary of Japan's surrender which ended World War Two.
Despite persistent rain and daily new coronavirus cases rising above 5,000 in the past two days, the shrine saw a constant stream of visitors from early morning, including families with children and people in military uniform.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga sent a ritual offering to the shrine for war dead, which also honours some convicted war criminals, but avoided a personal visit. Yet visits to the controversial Yasukuni shrine by members of Suga's cabinet as well as the former prime minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday were likely to anger China and both Koreas.
After visiting on Sunday the former prime minister, who is still a member of parliament, told reporters he paid his respect to the souls of the war dead. Abe visited Yasukuni as prime minister in 2013, sparking outrage from Beijing and Seoul and an expression of "disappointment" from the United States. He did not go again as prime minister, sending ritual offerings instead.
Yasukuni honours the war dead, including 14 World War Two leaders convicted as "Class A" war criminals, making it a flashpoint for tension. Koreans still chafe over Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, while Chinese have bitter memories of Japan's invasion and brutal occupation of parts of China from 1931 to 1945.
(Production: Irene Wang)
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