S. Korea criticizes Japanese PM reverence of imperial past
The shrine, which Kishida sent offerings to, is popularly reminiscent of Japan's wars of aggression in Eastern Asia.
South Korea described Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Yasukuni shrine offering (which is a ritual akin to Japan's imperial past) as deeply disappointing and regretful.
"The government expresses deep disappointment and regret over the fact that officials of the level of Japan's leader once again sent offerings and paid pilgrimage to the Yasukuni shrine, which glorifies Japan's aggressive militarist past and contains [commemorative plaques] of war criminals," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier today, Kishida made offerings to the Yasukuni shrine which is often in commemoration of the Shinto spring festival. The shrine is popularly reminiscent of Japan's wars of aggression in eastern Asia. Kishida's inconsiderate action was protested by both Seoul and Beijing.
Seoul implored Japan "to look straight in the face of history" and to take serious measures to acknowledge and make reparations for their brutal past.
The Yasukuni shrine was established in 1869 to remember soldiers who died while serving Japan. The shrine reveres nearly 1,000 war criminals, 14 of whom are A-Class convicts — those who have been found guilty of organizing, preparing, or waging wars.
Back in March, after the South Korean government announced its plan to compensate citizens forced to work for Japanese companies during World War II in order to end the historic tension with Japan, the plan was decried by the citizens as "dirty money" such that it didn't amount to Japan acknowledging their crimes and expressing remorse.
The plan, immediately welcomed by Japan and the US, does not entail an apology and contains merely voluntary contributions from the Japanese companies involved, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Steel.
Close to 780,000 Koreans were forced into labor by Japan during the colonial period, according to Seoul - this number does not include the hundreds of women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army at the time.