Japan’s Abe donates to controversial war shrine on anniversary
TOKYO – Agence France-PresseJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Aug. 15 sent a cash donation to a controversial war shrine as the country marked the anniversary of its defeat in World War II.
Yasukuni Shrine honors about 2.5 million dead, mostly Japanese, who perished in the country’s wars since the late 19th century.
But it is contentious for also commemorating senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal.
The indigenous Shinto religious shrine has for decades been a flashpoint for criticism by countries that suffered from Japan’s colonialism and aggression in the first half of the 20th century.
Abe, a staunch nationalist who wants to see Japan’s pacifist constitution amended, visited the shrine in December 2013, but has stayed away since.
His only visit as prime minister sparked fury in China and South Korea, and even earned a diplomatic rebuke from close ally the United States.
A member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said Abe had sent the monetary offering this year in his capacity as president of the party, not as prime minister. He made a similar donation last year.