Dozens of angry Taiwanese set fire to a giant model of a Japanese warship in a rally Thursday after Japanese lawmakers and cabinet ministers visited a controversial Tokyo shrine.
The demonstrators vented their anger outside Japan's de facto embassy in Taipei, burning a model of Izumo, a helicopter carrier. Japan's biggest warship since World War II, the Izumo was unveiled early this month.
Chanting slogans such as "Down with Japanese militarism", the group accused Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of trying to expand Japan's military.
In a statement, Taiwan's foreign ministry urged "the Japanese government and some political figures to learn from the lessons of history and refrain from doing anything that hurt the feelings of people in the neighboring countries".
Taiwan was colonised by Japan for half a century until 1945 when Japan surrendered at the end of World War II.
Taiwan has ruled itself after it split with the Chinese mainland in 1949 at the end of a civil war.
But China still considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting to be reunified -- by force if necessary.© (C) 2013 AFP