Japanese Ministers Visit War Shrine Amid Tension With Asian Neighbors

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August 20, 2012 by Water Wisdom



TOKYO — Two Japanese cabinet members paid their respects at a Tokyo war shrine linked to Japan’s militaristic past on Wednesday. Their visits, the first by high-ranking officials in three years, coincided with a recent flare-up in tensions between Japanand its Asian neighbors over history and territory.


The officials — Jin Matsubara, the minister in charge of the issue of Japanese abductions by North Korea, and Yuichiro Hata, the transportation minister — visited the Yasukuni Shrine separately to observe the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II. No other cabinet members have visited the shrine since the Democratic Party came to power in Japan in 2009, vowing to build closer ties in Asia.

参拜的两位官员是,负责处理朝鲜绑架日本国民事件的大臣松原仁(Jin Matsubara),以及国土交通大臣羽田雄一郎(Yuichiro Hata),两人各自前往靖国神社(Yasukuni Shrine) 进行参拜,以纪念日本在二战时的投降日。自从2009年民主党上台执政,并表示要加强与亚洲国家的联系以来,日本还没有任何内阁成员参拜过靖国神社。

The two officials, both conservatives, went to the shrine despite a request from Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda that they stay away. Japanese rightists defend such visits as an appropriate way to honor Japan’s war dead. But the shrine is seen by many in China and South Korea as a symbol of unrepentance in Japan over the country’s militarism in the early 20th century, when its armies marched brutally through Asia. The dead honored at the shrineinclude executed war criminals.

虽然日本首相野田佳彦(Yoshihiko Noda)告知大臣不要去靖国神社,这两位保守派官员依然前往参拜。日本右翼分子辩称,此类拜访是纪念日本阵亡将士的正当行为。而在很多中国人和韩国人眼中,靖国神社则是一种象征,显示出日本对其在20世纪初期所奉行的军国主义并无任何忏悔之意。当时,日本军队残酷地侵略了多个亚洲国家。靖国神社里还供奉着被处决的战犯。

Mr. Matsubara said he visited the shrine as a private citizen. “I acted based on my own principles as a Japanese national,” he said.


There was no immediate reaction from South Korea or China, but the visits came at a sensitive time. Japan is locked in an increasingly emotional standoff with South Korea over the issue of compensation for women who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II. It is also embroiled in heated disputes with China, South Korea and Russia over control of remote islands southwest, northwest and northeast of the principal Japanese islands.


On Wednesday, a vessel from Hong Kong entered waters around one cluster of disputed islands in the East China Sea to protest a plan by the Japanese government to nationalize the islands, which are owned by a private citizen. Russia said on Tuesday that it would send naval vessels to the Kurile Islands, the four southernmost of which are disputed, and the president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, made a surprise visit last Friday to a group of islets his country controls that are also claimed by Japan.

周三,一艘香港船只进入中国东海的钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿附近的水域,对日本政府计划将这些有着领土纠纷的岛屿收归国有表示抗议,目前,该组岛屿属于一个日本公民。俄罗斯于周二表示,将派遣海军舰队前往千岛群岛,该国与日本在群岛中四个最南端的岛屿上存在争议。上周五,韩国总统李明博(Lee Myung-bak)还突然拜访了韩国和日本都有主权主张的一组小岛。

Martin Fackler reported from Tokyo, and Choe Sang-hun from Seoul, South Korea.

Martin Fackler在东京,Choe Sang-hun在韩国首尔报道。



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