Japan Defense Minister Inada Visits Yasukuni Shrine (News)
Tokyo, Dec. 29 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Defense Minister Inada Tomomi visited war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Thursday, her first visit there since she became the country's top defense official in August.
Inada's move drew a protest from Seoul. In South Korea, as well as in China, the shrine is regarded as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, because World War II class-A war criminals are enshrined there.
The visit by Inada, known for her conservative historic and political views, may affect Japan's security cooperation with South Korea to deal with North Korea's missile and nuclear development.
Inada was the first defense minister to visit the shrine since Japan launched the Defense Ministry in January 2007 by reorganizing the Defense Agency. Nakatan Geni, who visited Yasukuni Shrine as defense head on August 15, 2002, is believed to be the most recent predecessor of Inada to make such a visit.
"Today's peace in Japan is owed to the precious lives of people who sacrificed themselves for their homeland," Inada told reporters after her visit.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]