Japan’s relations with South Korea and China are more strained following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a controversial shrine.
Abe has drawn criticism from Seoul and Beijing by going to the Yasukuni Shrine – the burial site of Japanese leaders deemed war criminals by an Allied tribunal. The conservative prime minister is keen to restore pride in Japan’s military past.
During the Second World War, Japan occupied large parts of China. The two countries are currently embroiled in a row over islands in the East China Sea.
A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry on Abe’s visit “solemnly urge[d] Japan… to reflect on its history of aggression… and take actions to win the trust of its Asian neighbours.”
South Korea has also expressed anger at Japanese officials visiting the shrine in the past.
Yasukuni is seen by South Korea as a sign of Japanese occupation from 1910-1945. South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yoo Jin-ryong said there is “regret and anger” over the visit.
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