Japanese Cabinet Minister Pays Rare Visit To Shrine Seen As Militarist In Asia - Reports

TOKYO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 17th October, 2019) Japan's Minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories, Seiichi Eto, on Thursday paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which is regarded by other Asian nations as a symbol of Japan's militarist past, becoming the first cabinet minister to do so since 2017, media reported.

In April 2017, minister Sanae Takaichi visited the shrine, which is dedicated to those who died fighting for Japan during wartime. Visits of Japanese officials to the shrine are usually met with criticism from other countries, especially China and South Korea, that suffered from the Japanese military.

The Kyodo news agency reported that earlier on Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine.

Abe previously visited it in 2013, stressing it was an anti-war gesture. The move, however, did not only spark protests from China and South Korea, but notably alienated Japan's main ally the United States. Since then Abe has only sent ritual offerings to the shrine, while first lady Akie Abe has reportedly visited the religious site.