Outspoken Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara has referred to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, his cabinet and all politicians who did not visit Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on Monday as "not Japanese." The Sankei newspaper reported Wednesday that Ishihara's comments were made in an informal and impolite speaking style.
Ishihara, who famously referred to the devastating Tohoku tsunami of March 11 as "divine punishment," visited the shrine on Aug 15 as part of the city's memorial service for the war dead. He told the assembled media that he had gone to the shrine to pray for the salvation of Japan. He went on to say that the current political turmoil in Japan is deserved. "The Japanese race has become a degraded shadow of its former self. We brought this upon ourselves," he was quoted as saying by media.
Visits by senior politicians to the Tokyo war shrine on the anniversary of the end of the war have often inflamed relations with China and South Korea and are closely scrutinized around the region. The Shinto shrine honors the 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including Class A war criminals such as Hideki Tojo, and is seen by many as a center of Japanese revisionism.
This year, more than 50 members of the conservative opposition Liberal Democratic Party — including current LDP leader Sadakazu Tanigaki and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- visited the shrine, while Kan and his entire cabinet stayed away.© Japan Today