Japan defence minister visits Yasukuni war shrine: media

Japan defence minister visits Yasukuni war shrine: media
Tomomi Inada, Abe's hawkish new defence chief, visited Yasukuni for the first time since taking the key cabinet post in August, according to national broadcaster NHK, the Asahi Shimbun and Jiji Press.
PHOTO: AFP

Japan's defence minister went to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo Thursday, media reports said, the day accompanying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a highly symbolic visit to Pearl Harbor.

The shrine honours millions of mostly Japanese war dead and has been criticised by countries such as China and South Korea which suffered under Japan's colonialism and aggression in the first half of the 20th century.

Read also: In Pearl Harbor visit, Abe pledges Japan will never wage war again

Tomomi Inada, Abe's hawkish new defence chief, visited Yasukuni for the first time since taking the key cabinet post in August, according to national broadcaster NHK, the Asahi Shimbun and Jiji Press.

Japan PM Abe visits Pearl Harbour to mark anniversary

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined US President Barack Obama for a symbolic joint visit to Pearl Harbor, commemorating World War Two dead and pledging that Japan would never wage war again.

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    Abe and Obama commemorated the dead at the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship.

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    Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the memorial, a centerpiece of the historic site.

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    "We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow we, the people of Japan, have taken," Abe said.

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    After their remarks, both leaders greeted US veterans who survived the attack.

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    Obama, who earlier this year became the first incumbent US president to visit Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945, called Abe's visit a "historic gesture "that was "a reminder that even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and a lasting peace."

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    The two leaders stood solemnly in front of a wall inscribed with the names of those who died in the 1941 attack and they took part in a brief wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a moment of silence.

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    "To the souls of the servicemen who lie in eternal rest aboard the USS Arizona, to the American people, and to all the peoples around the world, I pledge that unwavering vow here as the prime minister of Japan," he said.

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    Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China's expanding military capability.

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe smiles as he talks with Director of the National Memorial of the Pacific James Horton (R) before presenting a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows his head after presenting a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kristina Calla salutes before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Director of the National Memorial of the Pacific James Horton (center R) walk to present a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    The wreath presented by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen at the grave of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    The U.S. military Color Guard post the "Colors" along with the Japanese flag at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath at the grave of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Director of the National Memorial of the Pacific James Horton (R) observe a moment's silence as "Taps" are played after presenting a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signs the guest book as Director of the National Memorial of the Pacific James Horton(L) holds down the page after presenting a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

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    U.S. President Frankin Delano Roosevelt signs the declaration of war on Japan in Washington, DC, U.S. December 8, 1941.

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    The battleship USS Arizona, which was sunk during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, is seen at sea with President Herbert Hoover on board off Hampton Roads, Virginia, U.S. in March 1931.

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    A Marine rifle squad fires a volley over the bodies of fifteen officers and men killed at Naval Air Station Kanoehe Bay during the raid the previous day at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 8, 1941.

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    Ship's Chief Petty Officers listen to the radio broadcast of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's address to the Congress requesting a declaration of War against the Axis powers, December 8, 1941.

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    A model made for a Japanese propaganda film on the Pearl Harbor raid, showing ships located as they were during the December 7, 1941 attack, is seen in a photograph which was brought back to the U.S. from Japan at the end of World War II by Rear Admiral John Shafroth.

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    The body of a sailor killed during the Japanese air attack at Naval Air Station Kanoehe Bay lies on the shoreline, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A wrecked U.S. Army Air Corps B-17C bomber lies at Hickam Air Field, following the end of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    Sailors attempt to save a burning PBY amphibious aircraft at during the Japanese raid on Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii December 7, 1941.

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    The destroyers USS Downes and USS Cassin lie wrecked in Drydock One ahead of the battleship USS Pennsylvania soon after the end of the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The destroyers USS Downes and USS Cassin lie wrecked in Drydock One ahead of the battleship USS Pennsylvania soon after the end of the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The forward superstructure of the sunken battleship USS Arizona burns after the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

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    Sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken battleship USS West Virginia during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    Gunners on board the minesweeper USS Avocet look for more Japanese planes, at about the time the air raid ended on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A Japanese Type 00 (Zero) fighter with markings from the carrier Akagi is seen after it crashed during the attack at Fort Kamehameha, near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The crew of the Japanese carrier Shokaku cry Banzai as a Type 97 Kate carrier attack plane takes off as the second wave attack is launched on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    U.S. Marines await the possible return of Japanese aircraft on the parade ground at the Pearl Harbor Marine Barracks, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The damaged battleship USS California, listing to port after being hit by Japanese aerial torpedoes and bombs, is seen off Ford Island during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A Japanese Type 00 (Zero) carrier fighter trails smoke after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    Flak bursts of anti-aircraft shells pepper the skyline above rising smoke from the battleship USS Arizona during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A Japanese Navy Type 99 Val carrier bomber is seen in action during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The battleship USS Arizona burns on Battleship Row, beside Ford Island in an aerial photo taken from a Japanese aircraft during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The forward magazines of the destroyer USS Shaw explode after a bombing attack by Japanese planes on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    The forward magazine of the destroyer USS Shaw explodes during the second Japanese attack wave on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A Japanese bomber aircraft is seen in the foreground of an aerial photograph taken by a Japanese pilot during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    An officer on the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku watches as planes take off to attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A Japanese Navy Type 97 Kate carrier attack plane takes off from the aircraft carrier Shokaku, en route to attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    A chart identifying ship mooring locations and entitled (at upper left) "Report on positions of enemy fleet at anchorage", is seen after it was recovered from a Japanese aircraft that was downed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    Japanese Navy Type 99 Val carrier bombers prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier to attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941.

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    An aerial photograph taken the year before the Japanese raid shows the East Loch and the the Fleet Air Base on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. May 3, 1940.

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    This US Navy file image shows an overall view of ships burning and sinking after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

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    This file photo shows the USS Arizona making its way out of the channel of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1940.

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    This December 7, 1941 file photo obtained from the US Naval Historical Center shows the USS Arizona, sunk and burning furiously. Her forward magazines had exploded when she was hit by a Japanese bomb. Shown at (L), are men on the stern of USS Tennessee as they move fire hoses on the water to force burning oil away from their ship. Seventy-five years after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans, a group of forensic scientists in Hawaii is still working to identify the remains of the dead. A jumble of skulls, bones and teeth deemed unidentifiable in the years following the devastating attack are now being linked to missing sailors and Marines, thanks to advances in DNA testing.

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    This US Navy file image shows The USS Arizona afire and sinking after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Arizona went down entombing 1,177 crewmembers. Seventy-five years after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans, a group of forensic scientists in Hawaii is still working to identify the remains of the dead. A jumble of skulls, bones and teeth deemed unidentifiable in the years following the devastating attack are now being linked to missing sailors and Marines, thanks to advances in DNA testing.

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    This US Navy file image shows The USS Arizona afire and sinking after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Arizona went down entombing 1,177 crewmembers. Seventy-five years after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans, a group of forensic scientists in Hawaii is still working to identify the remains of the dead. A jumble of skulls, bones and teeth deemed unidentifiable in the years following the devastating attack are now being linked to missing sailors and Marines, thanks to advances in DNA testing.

The timing of the visit is likely to prove highly contentious coming so soon after Abe's pilgrimage with President Barack Obama to the site of Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on a US navy base in Hawaii that drew the US into World War II.

Defence ministry officials could not be reached for immediate comment.

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