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On the anniversary of World War II, a member of Japan's ruling party visits the Yasukuni war dead shrine

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - On Monday, the 77th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II , a high-ranking member of the r...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - On Monday, the 77th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, a high-ranking member of the ruling party went to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead. This is likely to anger South Korea and China.

The site was visited early on Monday by Koichi Hagiuda, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) policy research council and a key ally of the late former prime minister Shinzo Abe. It honors 14 Japanese wartime leaders who were found guilty of being war criminals by an Allied tribunal as well as war dead.

Beijing and Seoul see the central Tokyo shrine as a sign of Japan's past military aggression. On Saturday, Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of the industry sector, went there.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is on the moderate side of the conservative LDP, has a hard time finding the right balance between not upsetting international neighbors and partners and keeping the more right-wing members of the party happy, especially since party leader Abe was killed last month.

This year, Japan's relationship with China is especially tense because it held military drills around Taiwan for the first time ever after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi went there earlier this month. Several missiles fell into waters inside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone while the drills were going on.

Last week, a group of lawmakers who usually visit together on August 15 said they would not do so because there have been a lot of new cases of coronavirus recently.

Kishida didn't go to Yasukuni on the anniversary of the end of the war when he was a cabinet minister and LDP official, but he has sent gifts to the two festivals there since he became prime minister in October. Later in the day, he and Emperor Naruhito will both go to a separate ceremony that has nothing to do with religion.

In recent memory, Abe was the last prime minister to visit Yasukuni while in office. This happened in 2013, and it angered both China and South Korea, and even the United States, which is a close ally of Japan.

Since the war ended decades ago, the US and Japan have become strong security partners, but the war's effects are still felt in East Asia.

Koreans celebrate this day as National Liberation Day because they don't like how Japan ruled the peninsula from 1910 to 1945. China, on the other hand, still remembers how imperial troops invaded and ruled parts of the country from 1931 to 1945.

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