China, as well as South Korea, has repeatedly expressed anger in
the past over Japanese politicians' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine,
where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied
tribunal after World War II are honored along with those who died
China's foreign ministry said the visit by Yoshitaka Shindo, Japan's
internal affairs minister, once again showed that Japan's cabinet
had the "wrong attitude" when it came to facing up to history.
"China has already lodged solemn representations and protest with
Japan," the ministry said in a statement.
"We urge Japan to adopt a correct attitude on questions of history,
earnestly face the calls for justice from its Asian neighbors and
the international community, and end all provocative acts which run
counter to the tide of the times."
Shindo is a relatively minor figure in the government and a frequent
visitor to the shrine.
Japan's foreign ministry said Shindo's grandfather had fought in the
war, and that he had no intention of hurting the feelings of people
in China and South Korea.
"His visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which is a matter of his heart and
conscience, and the government of Japan's policy are two totally
separate matters," it said.
[to top of second column]
"The government of Japan's diplomacy and its recognition of history
China reacted with fury in December when Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe visited the shrine, worsening already bad relations which
have suffered during an ugly spat over a group of uninhabited
islands in the East China Sea.
Tokyo's relations with Beijing and Seoul have long been strained by
territorial rows and disputes stemming from Japan's wartime
occupation of large parts of China and its 1910-1945 colonization of
the Korean peninsula.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Nori Shirouzu;
by Antoni Slodkowski in Tokyo; editing by Susan Fenton)
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