Abe sends offering to war shrine

First direct show of respect since becoming premier but he does not visit Yasukuni.

    The potted masakaki tree offering, considered divine in Shinto, was to mark the spring festival [Reuters]
    The Tokyo shrine honours Japan's 2.5 million war dead, including some executed and declared war criminals by an Allied tribunal.
     
    Visits to the shrine by Junichiro Koizumi, Abe's predecessor, was a source of diplomatic tension with China and South Korea.
     
    Taro Aso, Japan's foreign minister, said he did not expect any diplomatic fallout as a result of Abe's gesture.
     
    "I don't think it really matters," he said.
     
    China's foreign ministry had no immediate comment.
     
    Mending ties
     
    Abe has worked hard to mend relations with China that were ruptured by Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni, a visit he has avoided making since taking office.
     

    Abe, right, hosted Wen Jiabao in Tokyo last
    month in a sign of warming relations [Reuters]

    Beijing has repeatedly pressed him not to visit it as a demonstration of Japan's remorse for its militaristic past.
     
    Yasuhisa Shiozaki, a government spokesman, acknowledged the media reports but said he had not heard directly from Abe about the visit.
     
    "The government will refrain from commenting on a matter that involves the thoughts and feelings of the prime minister as a private citizen," he added.
     
    Abe has regularly prayed there in the past and reportedly made a secret trip as chief cabinet secretary just before the shrine's main spring festival last year.
     
    Abe, who has kept mum on whether he will visit as prime minister, has reportedly said he will stay away from the shrine until at least July in a bid to improve ties with China.
     
    Last month, Abe hosted a visit to Japan by Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, signalling a warming in relations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons