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Officials’ visit to war shrine sparks outrage in China, S. Korea


08-16-2014 12:34 BJT

To mark the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the surrender of Japanese forces during World War Two, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made an offering at the war linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Around 80 Japanese lawmakers have also visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese who were killed while serving in the Japanese military, including 14 convicted Class A war criminals from the World War Two. The visit sparks fresh tensions with Japan’s neighbors.

A ceremony at the Yasukuni Shrine brought some of Japan’s top leaders - including Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

They were there to honor the war dead.

Those enshrined there include 14 class-A war criminals. Among them -- the commander of the invasion of China -- and the officer who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into World War Two.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not at the shrine - but sent a gift through an envoy. He attended a separate memorial service in Tokyo.

"We will face up to history humbly and learn the lessons learned deep in our hearts. For current generations and the forthcoming generation, we will open up a path for the future of the nation," Abe said.

Abe last visited the Yasukuni Shrine in December -- which led to new strains with neighbors China and South Korea.

Japan has faced much criticism over how it has depicted its war history-including the coverage of World War Two in school history books.

Its neighbors accuse Japan of not sufficiently acknowledging its aggression and brutality during the war.

"Japanese politicians are now pulling the people of the two countries apart. They’ve brought pain to them. One cannot cover up or deny historical truth. Future generations will search and find what is inevitably true because the witnesses of history are still with us," said Park Geun-Hye, South Korean President.

China’s Foreign Ministry called on Japan to face up to and reflect on its past of aggression. China alone lost more than ten million people during World War Two-the majority of them civilians.

Clearly, time has not healed these war wounds - still fresh nearly 70 years later.

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