US disappointed over Shinzo Abe’s visit to war shrine

Washington, Dec 31: The US is disappointed at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a controversial war shrine, the State Department said Monday.

“We were disappointed that Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbours,” reported Xinhua citing spokeswoman Marie Harf at a press briefing, adding that “our message is very clear from the words we chose”.

Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead including 14 convicted Class A war criminals from World War II, has drawn worldwide condemnation and criticism with officials and media warning of its adverse impact on regional peace and stability in East Asia.

The US hopes that both Japan and its neighbours will “find constructive way to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to continue improving their relations and to promote cooperation, advancing all of our shared goals in the region,” Harf said.

She said the US took note of Abe’s “expression of remorse for the past and his reaffirmation of Japan’s commitment to peace”.

The US and Japan, “a valued ally and friend”, are focused on the relationship moving forward and how Japan and other countries in the region can work more constructively together, Harf said.