Japanese Cabinet Minister visits Yasukuni Shrine for War Dead

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on Saturday became the first member of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead in Tokyo, the news agency reported. Kyoto.

“I have decided to do my best for Japan’s peace and development, while thinking of the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” Nishimura told reporters, according to Kyodo.

Nishimura belongs to the party faction led by Abe, who was shot dead during a campaign rally last month. Kishida tapped Nishimura to lead the economy, trade and industry ministry in a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.

Yasukuni is seen in China and South Korea as a symbol of ancient Japanese military aggression as it honours, among the estimated 2.5 million war dead, 14 Japanese World War II leaders convicted as war criminals. by an allied court.

South Korea expressed “deep disappointment and regret” over Nishimura’s visit. The shrine “glorifies Japan’s past war of aggression and enshrines war criminals,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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Abe surrendered in December 2013, shortly after taking office, but abstained for the rest of his term to avoid angering China and South Korea.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Additional reporting by Soo-hyang Choi in Seoul; Editing by William Mallard)

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