Ex-PM Abe Visits Yasukuni Shrine Again

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 19 (Jiji Press)--Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Monday, with the Shinto shrine visit marking his second since he resigned from the post last month.

Abe put his signature on the visitor book as “Shinzo Abe,” without any title, and made a “tamagushi” ritual offering at his own expense, according to sources familiar with the visit.

The shrine, located in Chiyoda Ward in the Japanese capital, held a regular autumn festival for two days through Sunday. Honoring Class-A World War II criminals along with the war dead, the shrine is regarded as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism by China and South Korea, which suffered at the hands of Japan during the wartime.

Abe paid a visit on Dec. 26, 2013, his only confirmed visit to the shrine during his second tenure as prime minister, which began in December 2012. He visited the shrine on Sept. 19 this year, three days after he left office due to a health issue. Abe remains a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference on Monday that Abe made the latest Yasukuni Shrine visit as “a private individual,” adding, “This is a matter that concerns an individual’s religious freedom, and the government therefore should not meddle in the issue.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press