Japan official visits controversial shrine

Tokyo, April 20: A senior Japanese government official Sunday visited a controversial World War II shrine that is viewed as a symbol of the country’s past militarism.

Chairman of Japan’s National Public Safety Commission Keiji Furuya visited Yasukuni shrine to honour 2.5 million Japanese victims, which also include 14 Class A war criminals, Press TV reported.

“I believe that to honour those who gave up their lives for our country is the right thing for a Japanese to do,” Furuya, who is also the minister in charge of abduction issues, was quoted as saying on his website.

Furuya said he regularly visits Yasukuni at spring and autumn festivals, and on Aug 15, the day Japan surrendered in 1945.

Visits to the shrine by Japanese officials have infuriated neighbouring China and the two Koreas.

Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Yoshitaka Shindo prayed at Yasukuni earlier this month.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has expressed his desire to see Japan expand its role in regional defence, has also regularly visited Yasukuni. However, he only visited the shrine once in December as prime minister.

IANS