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Do you personally object to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or any of his cabinet ministers visiting Yasukuni shrine?

30 Comments
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Yes. I think the visits are inappropriate for many reasons. First they offend their Northeast Asian neighbours and other nations that had to contend with the viciousness of the IJA during the Pacific War. Nanking? Unit 731? Etc. etc. etc.

While many Japanese leaders call for the Koreas and China to forget about ‘regrettable' historical actions and move on, the Japanese leaders who visit the shrine are being perceived as wanting to keep history fresh in the minds of their fellow believers and thumb their collective noses at outsiders.

Second, if the leaders are paying attention to the souls of the fallen while ignoring the plight of their living fellow citizens who survived the horrors of war, then to me they’re being highly hypocritical.

To me the visit is another example of cultural extremism done to appeal to their fellow cultural extremists. What percent of the population are they appealing to?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I could care less where PM Abe goes as long as the order from Parliament to entomb Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is given. PM Abe can go to the Moon for all I care.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Personally, I don't object, as neither I nor my country were victims of Japanese aggression in WWII. But I think it's stupid for Japanese politicians to keep going. It's counter productive. It does absolutely nothing for relations with neighbors, absolutely nothing for the economy, and does nothing to make Japan a better place. So the visits are counter-productive.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Yes, I object. They have no good reason to go to this particular shrine. Their main claim of praying for the fallen soldiers and for continued peace is negated by the fact that the Imperial family and countless other Japanese manage to do the same elsewhere, and the Yasukuni shrine visits do the opposite of promoting peace.

The shrine has become a mecca and symbol of Japan's nationalist right. This can be seen in where their funding comes from, their museum glorifying Japan's wartime past, their enshrinement of war criminals, and general nuttiness of many who flock there. The only reasons I can think of for the visits (or sending of gifts) are they agree with the shine's sentiments, they're too dumb to realize there's a controversy, they're politically obligated, plain stubborn and selfish pride, or all of the above. Again, no good reason...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I don't care personally so much, don't think specific places have special power and what not, but think politically its a really bad choice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan should nationalize the shrine and hold a 1-vote-per-citizen referendum on two issues: to see if the populace wants to move the contentious occupants out to a smaller place, and to see if they want the PM and his cohort to visit the smaller shrine, and accept the fallout.

As to whether the other occupants want to share dwelling space with the Class A occupants, I can't say. Early on no doubt you'd get the loyalty vote, but it's been 70 years since the war, maybe feelings have changed. Ouija boards?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/11031805/Yasukuni-Shrine-the-14-Class-A-war-criminals-honoured-by-Japan.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Going to Yasukuni makes life harder for Japanese people collectively, most of whom have already moved past the war and just want to get on with productive, meaningful lives as global citizens. Every time a state official visits or supports Yasukuni, the Japanese people get tainted by association with that leader's support for militarism and historical revisionism, and the public has to face the consequences for that taint through more difficult trade deals with Japan's neighbors, increased risk of military conflict, and general daily tension.

Japan's leaders who go to Yasukuni do so in order to secure votes from a particular, small demographic of elderly nationalists who support Japanese militarism and so they can feel emotional glorification of their own family members who were involved in past militarism. In other words, politicians who visit Yasukuni personally benefit by inconveniencing the country as a whole. If there's one quality that defines Japanese culture, it's the need to suppress your personal desires when those desires inconvenience the collective whole. In that light, a politician visiting Yasukuni is an inherently un-Japanese act.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yes, because they are all public figures and are representatives of Japan itself so it reflects on the country as a whole. These are 100% their own personal beliefs and fantasies and the general population shouldn't have to suffer for their leaders' personal beliefs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yes. Praying for the souls of the war dead is one thing. But there are others enshrined there too. The ones who committed outright atrocities, mostly against chinese and koreans. This is unacceptable.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Who cares? It's like telling someone they shouldn't go to church or a cemetery and worship a god in private or honor their dead. What Abe wants to do in the privacy of his life is up to him. It seems like the media wants to make a big deal over nothing. I highly suggest having someone who doesn't understand the Shinto faith try to tell any Japanse person to stop going to shrines and see how well that goes over. What wil the media scream about next? The Japanese Emperor?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Same as going to the tomb of the unknown soldier in Washington.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Same as going to the tomb of the unknown soldier in Washington.

Other than that, you know, it's not.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

WolfandMoon

It's like telling someone they shouldn't go to church or a cemetery and worship a god in private or honor their dead.

It's more like telling Angela Merkel or German elected officials that they shouldn't go to the one memorial their former victims can't stand that's operated and funded by people that seem to only regret that their country lost the war they started and where Nazi war criminals are also enshrined. You think the media outcry is loud now?

It's key to remember they're not just "any Japanese person." Elected officials can and should be held to higher standards.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No nation has the right to dictate what another nation's politicians do within their own private capacity. If they did then the other nation's politician also has the right point out the wrongs that the nations that are criticizing like politicizing a matter that happened nearly a century ago emphasizing propaganda as if they were the truth.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If Abe wants to pay his respect privately, what's stopping him burning some incense and praying at home?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Forget the past and move on forward

Then don't visit the Yasukuni Shrine, because that's sticking to an "extremely regrettable" past.

It's about praying for the fallen, and it reminds us that war is bad and peace is good.

But there are war criminals enshrined there. How can you even pay respects to war criminals and preach for peace at the same time?

That's the victor's justice. Japan was really the only true victim of war. The victim of Western aggression and the victim of having ungrateful neighbors who we tried to free and save from Western colonialists.

I'll vote for option d.) I give up. There's no hope.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, I don't object personally. But it's such a flashpoint for controversy the obstinacy of the visits along with the constant "We need to go over that particular apology once more with a mind towards changing a few words here and there" and the constant objecting to every other Asian nation's memorializing the events of WWII as "dwelling on unfortunate events they should get past" by Abe's best pals on the right makes me shake my head. I think Japan has done a lot to make amends, but I also think Japan leans pretty hard on the "we were the true victims of the war, why can't everyone but us recognize that?" stance. Money and apologies are fine and all, but romanticizing your crimes at the same time is kind of sick.

And no... I don't like it when my own country does something similar with our national narrative, either.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Historical and cultural principles and significance not withstanding, the sitting prime minister and his ilk going to that place is simply incendiary and provocative, bad politics and bad for business.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah, I have to object too! Not because I am against Japan recognising its past, but because the reason they do it is just to get a rise from China and South Korea. Japan has no friends within Asia (and not to many anywhere else for that matter) and this kind of action does nothing to to improve relations with its neighbors.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Any British readers who don't object should know that the museum owned and operated by the shrine displays a train from the Burma railway complete with an explanation boasting about how quickly and efficiently the railway was built.

The explanation does not, however, dwell on the living skeletons forced to build the railway.

Why has no proper journalist asked Abe if he does or does not endorse the content of the museum?

Surely this a relevant line of inquiry.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

No nation has the right to dictate what another nation's politicians do within their own private capacity.

Well, of course not. But as private citizens with freedom of speech we have every right to criticise it. Anyway, Japanese politicians go to the shrine in the most public capacity they can. They've even set up a parliamentary group to encourage visits by Diet members. Never mind that in Japan religion and government are separated by the constitution.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Being covered by the media and official working hours are complete two different things which should not mixed up. If they are not visiting during official hours then they are within private capacity no matter how much the media hounds them. They do not have privacy but does not mean they are on official business.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan has no friends within Asia

Considering you visit this "news" site on a daily basis, it would seem you need to keep up with certain current events.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Australian PM states on his recent visit that Japan is Australia,s best friend.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I voted 'Couldn't care less' because if he does visit, it shows he's supporting the notion that Japan did no wrong to its neighbours, and if he doesn't go, it's only because he's forced into not doing so but secretly still wants to.

I'd rather see a change in the government and a different PM rather than a change in Abe because he won't ever change. He constantly flip-flops and is two-faced. Ugly in all senses of the word.

I will say this. China and Korea and other nations aren't expected to do business with Japan if they don't want to. And China is holding up Japan's economy. Don't bite the hand that feeds.

If the Imperial Family are fine with going to Chidorigafuchi only, then so can lawmakers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hey, shouldn't the third option be " I could care less"?????

Moderator: The correct expression is (and has always been) "I couldn't care less." Saying "I could care less" makes no sense at all.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Folks who go there are citizens of Japan first and whatever jobs they do second. They have the right to go to that place to pay their respects.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry, mod, I know. Guess my sarcastic smile emoji didn't come through.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Texas A&M Aggie:

"Folks who go there are citizens of Japan first and whatever jobs they do second. They have the right to go to that place to pay their respects."

They certainly can -- as private individuals. And while they also have the right to do the visit in their official capacity, if they do, they do so knowing full well that China and Korea also have the right to hurl vitriol at them and yet further tarnish Japan's image. Guess they're fine with that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I object for the very simple reason that it is stupid and bad for Japan, a country I care very much about.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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