WW2 anniversary: Abe sends offerings to Yasukuni shrine to honour slain heroes
TOKYO/SEOUL (JAPAN/SOUTH KOREA) – On the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Japan during World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed never to repeat the tragedy of war while Emperor Naruhito expressed deep regret over the wartime past, which still looms like a spectre over East Asia.
“Never to repeat the tragedy of war. We will continue to remain committed to this resolute pledge,” said Abe, who took part in a ceremony to commemorate the fallen soldiers on Saturday wearing a face mask. It was a scaled-back affair because of the pandemic.
The prime minister sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for those who died in the war. However, he avoided a personal visit in order not to ruffle the feathers of China and South Korea.
On the other hand, four Japanese cabinet ministers visited the shrine to pay their respects to the 14 wartime leaders, branded as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, and others who perished.
A member of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party Shuichi Takatori said he made the offerings on behalf of the prime minister and delivered a message from him in which he “paid his respects from the heart to the war dead and prayed for the rest and permanent peace of their souls.”
Often touted to be the future prime minister, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, 39, visited the shrine.
Thousands assembled at Yasukuni to pay homage to the war dead as queues became congested despite social distancing markers. They stood for hours in the scorching sun armed with parasols.
“I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated,” Naruhito, 60, said at the official ceremony. He was accompanied by Empress Masako and they bowed before a flower-decked altar wearing face masks.
He is the grandson of wartime Emperor Hirohito and the first monarch to be born after the war. He ascended the throne last year following the abdication of his father, Akihito.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field