politics

Abe meets Chinese PM amid furor over lawmakers' Yasukuni Shrine visits

31 Comments
By Miwa Suzuki

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Official visits to Yasukuni by J-goverment representatives raise questions of the Japan's Constitution, which calls for the separation of politics and religion. Japan should keep Yasukuni away from politics. Isn’t it the duty of politicians to think of ways to achieve that goal? You can't treat Cabinet ministers’ visits to the shrine in the same way as those by families and citizens who mourn the war dead because of the unusual characteristics of the shrine. Such behavior has caused the international community to think that Japan has forgotten its past mistakes and is supporting such perceptions of history.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Didn't I read this seven years ago, during the first Abe Cabinet? This news story is on an endless loop.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It seems that China says "Stay away from the issue of Hong Kong" and Japan says "Stay away from the issue of Yasukuni" Both are probably domestic issues?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shook hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Milan, despite a mass visit by Japanese lawmakers to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo.

Wow. I "shook hands" with my ex- at our daughter's wedding six years ago. Doesn't mean our relationship had "thawed", as we haven't spoken since. Both China and Japan can be their own worst enemies sometimes in that playing to their hard-core domestic audiences, they rub salt in the wounds of the other. Like Galapagos said "an endless loop".

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Alright, humiliation accomplished. Can we get back to ignoring China?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

scipantheistOct. 18, 2014 - 07:58AM JST Alright, humiliation accomplished. Can we get back to ignoring China?

For Japan, China is a major trade partner that accounts for over 20 percent of Japan's total bilateral trade and you cannot ignore that. Continue bad relations is affecting all sprectrum of the bilateral trade and many will look for alternative suppliers other than Japan.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

It doesn't matter what China or S.Korea feels about it. They don't listen to Japan, so why should Japan listen to them? It's not their country. Japan doesn't tell China or S.Korea where they can visit. So don't expect Japan to listen to them.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

peanut666: "It doesn't matter what China or S.Korea feels about it."

It most certainly DOES matter when it affects relations and business, even if you don't want it to, peanut. And as many of you love to come on here and suggest Abe is some sort of saint for wanting to have talks with China and/or South Korea immediately after doing something stupid like commemorating convicted war criminals and making the other sides angry, you now have to thank the Chinese representative and talk about how mature he is despite Abe and lawmakers moves the other day.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

China reacted with renewed anger on Friday.

So who actually give a hooting duck.

China stop repressing your own people, let hong kong choose who to vote for, leave Tibet, show some humanity instead of criticising others about what they do on their own soil, in their own time, on their own dime.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Such behavior has caused the international community to think that Japan has forgotten its past mistakes and is supporting such perceptions of history.

@sfjp330

I agree. The nation of Japan certainly has not forgotten the immense suffering it endured in the past, but it does often seem to have forgotten the suffering it caused others. It is important that the nation remember both.

It is very important that politicians honor Japan's fallen soldiers, but doing so at a site that whitewashes and glorifies the Imperial Japanese military and its role during the war years is a disgrace to those soldiers and to hopefully peace-seeking nation of modern Japan.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

'China reacted with renewed anger on Friday.

So who actually give a hooting duck.

China stop repressing your own people, let hong kong choose who to vote for, leave Tibet, show some humanity instead of criticising others about what they do on their own soil, in their own time, on their own dime.'

It's become the usual refrain of apologists to point out China's dreadful human rights record or Korea's bloody-mindedness as a way of not dealing with the obvious - this place enshrines those guilty of disgusting crimes and it's museum attempts to whitewash them. This place is toxic and disgraces the memory of the decent who fought and died. I notice Taiwan also issued a rebuke. Can you point to Taiwanese human rights violations or Taiwanese bloody-mindedness towards Japan as a way of not dealing with the point?

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Even though PM Abe can not solve the problem about Yasukuni Shrine, about an alternate national cemetery to honor the war's dead, and other issues, he wants to get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council to help other countries solve their problems. PM Abe can not solve Japan's own problems with its four neighbors (China, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan ) and he wants to help other countries solve their international problems. What a joke ! PM Abe should trying to revise stories on historical issues like comfort women, war time atrocities, etc.. He should stop opening up old World War II wounds. The apologies are best left the way they are. .... He can learn a lot from Germany. The German government apologized for past atrocities, paid compensation, etc. As far as the German government is concerned, World War II is history, all the old issues are history. They do not want to talk or debate about it.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

For Japan, China is a major trade partner that accounts for over 20 percent of Japan's total bilateral trade and you cannot ignore that.

sfjp330, I think scipantheist meant Japan and China ignore each other. And yes, China is a major trading partner, but with export to China decreasing, China acounts for 18.1%, 2nd after USA of Japan's total export.

http://www.jetro.go.jp/news/releases/20140819742-news

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Yasukuni or not, it seems that heads of both countries are more concerned on their mutual economic growth. It is just China's habit to crtiticize Yasukuni visit to shift their people's eyes away from friendhip between Japan and China, To calm down S. Korea, too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nowadays, Chinese regime seems putting more efforts to build its soft power on the international stage, at least it tries.

The brief and cordial encounter between Abe and Li in Milan might set a precedence/protocal for Abe and Xi at the APEC in China next mouth. Although it’s not really a true summit, it’s better than that both leaders would act like elementary school kids in fount of camera. A quick handshake may give Abe and Xi something to clinch on for the domestic audiences.

As Abe is looking for breakthrough with Xi while Abenomic falters, the US has made some really good headway with China since last month. In fact, this evening Secretary of State John Kerry met China's top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, at his Boston home.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Which is the country between Japan and China that has been threatening neighboring countries by drastically expanding the national military budget year by year? While condemning Japan for the past, China seems to have ambition to expand their territory.

Furthermore, China has been supporting North Korea so that it has become capable to establish nuclear weapons.

We should keep our eyes on the on-going situation more than the past which gave us precious lessons.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

it’s better than that both leaders would act like elementary school kids in fount of camera.

EthanWilber, When did Japan act like elementary school kids?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This kind of reproach by China and South Korea is used as a state strategy to divert their own people's eyes from the serious domestic problems and complaints.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Would China and South Korea feel better if the shrine's references to Class A war criminals are removed?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is a win for both countries http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/japan-caves-to-china-on-senkaku-island-dispute/

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yasukuni Shrine visits by Japanese officials including political heavyweights should be left alone or untouched by other countries as a purely personal affair as people all over the world have the right to choose their religion and places of worship! Mixing politis with such matters is inappropriate and earlier it is done away with the better for all! The latest meeting between the premiers of Japan and China should pave the way for a diplomatic solution to prolonging disputes between the two countries over some disputed islands as both have a lot to benefit by focusing on major economic issues which will benefit people of both the countries and the world at large!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I have the feeling the present Chinese government is doing quite well in its task of mass indoctrination,

2 ( +4 / -2 )

How can anyone say visits to Yasukuni by government officials are purely a domestic matter? Its close association with the horrors Imperial Japan inflicted on other countries automatically makes the visits a matter of international concern. These officials are free to visit if they must, but the price is a worsening image of Japan.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

of course, it would be better if s/korea and china (and other countries) should just watch and not say anything about these visits,,japan has its own right to glorify and thank its war criminals for what they been doing during WWII. just saying.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

About 2,466,000 people are enshrined in Yasukuni shrine. Most of them are victims of the war led by a handful of military top leaders. Japan's prime minister and political representatives should not be daunted by the China's interference of domestic issues.  They visit the shrine to express condolence to the bereaved families and the victims of the war and to make "no-war-pledge". Japan has achieved a democratic country with peace for 70 years after the war and Abe is pledging to design Japan to be a proactive contributor to peace. Why is it wrong? Please explain.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yasukuni Shrine visits by Japanese officials including political heavyweights should be left alone or untouched by other countries as a purely personal affair as people all over the world have the right to choose their religion and places of worship!

The political heavyweights do all they can to make it a very public affair. If they couldn't show off to their constituents there would be no point for them in going.

Mixing politis with such matters is inappropriate and earlier it is done away with the better for all!

Right, but it's the Japanese politicians who do all the mixing. They should go as private citizens, without big black cars or aides, they should say nothing at all to the press if they're going to visit and they should not write their occupations in the visitors' book. The problem is they love the attention - it probably makes them feel less like the bland non-entities they actually are.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I believe it is way past the OVERTIME period. This peace of History never seems or disappear. If the Chinese and others would let it die nobody would talk about it. The Japanese know that Crime was committed during WW2, but, in any War this always happens. I believe it is time to leave this continuous goboly guck alone and move on!!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Let's get our history straight. HK was temporarily taken away from China because of the opium war and was rightfully returned to China. There is no parallel to visiting Yasukuni. If Abe is so against not visiting the place where war criminals are placed, then stop asking to meet and blaming others for not meeting! This old record has been playing for too long. Just go your way and let others go theirs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Government spokesman Suga is quoted as having said in reference to the offering of a votive tree by PM Abe that it was done in his capacity as a private citizen.I wonder what Suga would make out of the public versus private debate about the status of a law-maker, who wears the hat as Prime Minister. Suppose Mr. Abe has got a sudden phone call in midnight from the Defense Department informing him of the intelligence report thay North Korea was getting a long-distance missile ready to send it flying over the sea of Japan targeted at Tokyo, expected to arrive over Tokyo in 12 minutes. He asks for the PM7s permission to shoot it down. Could you imagine Abe saying," I wear the hat as PM concurrently Commander in Chief from 9 to 5. Call me back at 5 tommorow morning" ? I have never heard of any law maker putting in a request for overtime payment. Let's remind Mr. Abe and like-minded others that as long as he wears the hat as a law-maker, he represents part of the power of the state and he is not in a position to claim that he visits Yasukuni to execise the right to freedom of religeon as a private citizen. Only after he has stepped down from that position can he enjoy visiting Yasukuni all he wants. The fact that he represents the power of the state should put him in the position where he is expected to live up to the constitution to bar himself from abusing power against the people. This is where the notion of human rights as guranteed by the constitution comes in. This is what the principle of constitutionalism is all about. What Mr. Abe and others do in their capacity as private citizens would ne nothing but constitutionalism turned upside down.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@sfjp330 Maybe you should read some economic magazines. China is suffering from the nearly 40% drop in Japanese investment in China. They need the yen badly. Its Japan that find find cheaper sources of products from other Asian nations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An exchange of pleasantries can hardly be regarded as a meeting, and one suspects even those pleasantries are not likely genuine. When you have 90% of your populations hating each other (according to Pew Institute), like the Jews and Palestinians hate each other, the politicians cannot do anything useful. Even exchange of pleasantries are rare treats.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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