Three Japanese government ministers visited today, the 76th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, the controversial Shinto shrine of Yasukuni in Tokyo, considered by many as a symbol that glorifies the country’s imperial past.
The members of the Government who visited Yasukuni today were the Minister of Education, Koichi Hagiuda, the Minister in charge of Expo 2025, Shinji Inoue, and the Minister of the Environment, Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and considered a future candidate to occupy the head of government.
On this day, 76 years ago today a broadcast on Japanese radio “The Edict of the End” was read by Emperor Hirohito declaring unconditional surrender.
Japanese Prime Minister avoids the shrine
The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga entrusted his secretary to enshrine “Jade Chuan materials” (sacrifice fee) in the name of “President of the Liberal Democratic Party” to the Yasukuni Shrine. No sitting Prime Minister has ever visited the shrine.
China’s anger and shame
China is bitter about the visit as as during the Anti-Japanese War more than 35 million Chinese were killed or injured. Most of China was overrun by the Japanese army. More than 930 cities were occupied successively rendering 42 million refugees homeless. The Chinese have bitter memories of the Japanese army’s burning, killing and looting the country but hide the fact that it couldn’t have been done without the support of the Chinese themselves.
On the 13th, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi paid a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. The Ministry of National Defense of China expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to this, and made solemn representations to the Japanese side. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea also summoned the Minister General of the Japanese Embassy in South Korea on the afternoon of the 13th to protest against the Japanese Defense Minister’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.
The Yasukuni Shrine is located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Called Yasukuni Jinja, it has roots in a shrine called Shokonsha, which was established on June 29, 1869, by the will of the Emperor Meiji. In 1879, it was renamed Yasukuni Jinja. The shrine is dedicated to those who fought for Japan and died. The Japanese believe that respect and awe for the dead are best expressed by treating the dead in the same manner as if they were alive.
Twice every year, in the spring and autumn, the shrine keepers conduct rites at which offerings from His Majesty the Emperor are dedicated. These rites are also attended by members of the Imperial family. About five million people visit the shrine every year.