PM Kishida vows Japan will never wage war again as China, South Korea condemn Yasukuni Shrine visit

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed that his country would never wage war again during a ceremony marking the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.

In Kishida’s first speech since taking office in October, he vowed that Japan would “never again repeat the horrors of war” at a somber ceremony on Monday marking the 77th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

“I will continue to fulfill this firm oath,” Kishida He said. “In a world where conflicts remain unabated, Japan, under the banner of proactive pacifism, will do its best to work with the international community to solve the various challenges facing the world.”

In his speech, Kishida highlighted the damage done to Japan by the American atomic bombing during World War II, and said that the prosperity that Japan is experiencing today is due to the sacrifices of those who died in the war.

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Anniversary is traditionally celebrated by Visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates those who died serving Japan, including 14 wartime leaders who were convicted as war criminals. The visits, which are often controversial, are seen by China and South Korea as a symbol of Japanese militarism in the past.

Although Kishida has not visited the shrine, he Reportedly sent Religious decoration, as is He did that too in 2021, as a show instead. Three members of his cabinet, including Economic Security Minister Sana Takechi, Kenyan Minister for Disaster Reconstruction Akiba, and Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, decided to visit the shrine.

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Reportedly, Takaichi told reporters, “She paid respects to the souls of those who gave their lives for national politics,” while also noting her prayers for the end of the war in Ukraine.

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In defense of the visits, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno reportedly said: “It is normal in any country to pay respect to those who gave their lives for their nation.” “There is no change in Japan’s policy to strengthen its relations with its neighbors China and South Korea.”

However, visits to the shrine continued to draw criticism from China and South Korea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Yingbin said Japan needs to “think deeply” about its history and win the trust of its Asian neighbors by acting responsibly.

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“Some Japanese political figures often distort and glorify the history of aggression in various ways, and openly violate the Cairo Declaration and other important legal documents that clearly state Taiwan’s return to China,” Wang said.

In South Korea, officials have expressed “profound disappointment” with shrine visits, which they believe embellish previous Japanese invasions.

“The Korean government urges Japanese officials to confront history, show humility and truly reflect on the past through action,” a South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

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This day also falls on Korea’s National Liberation Day, a holiday celebrated in both North and South Korea. It annually commemorates the victory over Japan, when the United States and the Soviet Union restored Korea’s independence after 35 years of Japanese rule.

Featured Image via Reuters

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