TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Two members of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine on Monday, the 77th anniversary of the end of the war, while Kishida himself refrained from visiting the Shinto shrine.
The two who visited the shrine on the day are Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi and Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba.
“I extended my gratitude to people who perished under our nation’s policy,” Takaichi told reporters. She said she signed the visitors’ book as a cabinet minister and made a “tamagushi” ritual offering paid out of her own pocket.
Cabinet ministers visited Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary for the third straight year. China, South Korea and some other neighboring countries consider Yasukuni Shrine as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, as it enshrines war criminals along with the war dead.
On Monday, Kishida, through a representative, made a “tamagushi” ritual offering at his own expense to Yasukuni Shrine under the name of the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, according to sources close to the prime minister.
Among members of Kishida’s Cabinet, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura visited Yasukuni Shrine on Saturday.
On the occasions of last year’s autumn festival and this year’s spring festival of Yasukuni Shrine, none of the then ministers of Kishida’s Cabinet visited the shrine. The prime minister also refrained from making a visit.
Among executives of the LDP, Koichi Hagiuda, chair of the party’s Policy Research Council, visited Yasukuni Shrine on Monday.
“I offered my sincere condolences to the souls of those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war,” Hagiuda told reporters.
A nonpartisan group of lawmakers promoting visits to Yasukuni Shrine said its members will refrain from visiting as a group due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.