The Japanese Prime Minster has created a minor international incident by visiting a Shinto shrine to dead Japanese soldiers from World War II. China and South Korea are apparently a bit sensitive to such symbolic visits for various reasons. But it’s the prime minister’s response to the whole thing that has me amused:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shrine on Thursday that is seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo’s wartime aggression, infuriating China and South Korea and prompting concern from the United States about deteriorating ties between the North Asian neighbors.
China and South Korea have repeatedly expressed anger in the past over Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle…
Abe, a conservative who took office for a second term exactly one year ago, said he did not intend to hurt feelings in neighboring nations.
“There is criticism based on the misconception that this is an act to worship war criminals, but I visited Yasukuni Shrine to report to the souls of the war dead on the progress made this year and to convey my resolve that people never again suffer the horrors of war,” he told reporters after the visit.
To report to the souls of the dead? What, you couldn’t just send them a letter? They can’t read Twitter or Facebook in the afterlife?