Japan Minister Visits War-Related Yasukuni Shrine
Tokyo, Oct. 17 (Jiji Press)--Seiichi Eto, Japanese minister for issues in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa and four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands claimed by Japan, visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday, the first day of the war-related Shinto shrine's four-day autumn festival.
This marked the first Yasukuni visit by an incumbent cabinet minister since a visit in April 2017 by then Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi.
The visit by Eto may draw a backlash from China and South Korea as the shrine honors Class-A World War II criminals along with the war dead and is regarded by the neighboring countries as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.
Eto's visit is understood as "an act of an individual," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference. "It's not something on which the government shows its view," the top government spokesman added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a ritual offering of a "masakaki" tree stand to the shrine. He is unlikely to visit the shrine during the autumn festival period.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]