TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Saturday, two days before the 77th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
He is the first cabinet minister whose visit to the war-related shrine has been confirmed since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration was launched in October last year.
“I prayed for peaceful rest of the souls of the war dead, thinking about former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” Nishimura told reporters after the shrine visit.
“I made a pledge to do my utmost for the peace and prosperity of Japan and the world,” he added.
Yasukuni Shrine is regarded as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism by neighboring countries including China and South Korea as it enshrines war criminals along with the war dead. Abe was shot dead last month.
Nishimura returned to the government in Wednesday’s cabinet reshuffle. He visited the Shinto shrine around the Aug. 15 war anniversary in 2020 and 2021 when he was economic revitalization minister under the administrations of Abe and his successor, Yoshihide Suga.
On the occasions of last year’s autumn festival and this year’s spring festival, none of the then ministers of Kishida’s cabinet visited Yasukuni Shrine.