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US scholar voices against possible visit to Yasukuni by Japan's Abe|
Xinhua | 2013-10-29 19:16:30
A renowned US scholar on international relations voiced in Tokyo on Tuesday against possible visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Joseph Nye Jr., distinguished service professor at Harvard University, said at a symposium named "US-Japan Alliance in the new era" here that "visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have become the symbolic of the 1930s and of the problems that Japan has not overcome in terms of its history with its neighbors."
Nye also said that the Japanese leader should weigh the effects of such visits on the country's neighbors, adding Japan has "soft power" through all of the world, except in its near neighborhood of China and South Korea due to the issue.
"If one wants to do something to observe properly the war dead, be wise to find another way to do it," said Nye, adding if Abe did it in the form of prime minister, it will do "considerable damage" to Japan's relations with its neighbors, as well as relations with the United States.
The Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals during the World War II, is considered as the symbol of Japan's past militarism by its neighboring countries.
Repeated visits to the shrine by Japanese ministers and lawmakers have been a major obstacle for Japan to mend ties with China and South Korea.
Koichi Hagiuda, a lawmaker and aide to Abe, said on October 20 that the prime minister is likely to visit the shrine by year-end, while Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said a day later that Abe will decide whether to visit the shrine by himself.
Abe reiterated that he is truly regrettable that he could not worship the controversial shrine during his first term in office.
He worshipped the shrine as president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) before last December's lower house election, in which the LDP defeated ruling Democratic Party of Japan and paved the way for Abe to claim his second term in office.
The Japanese leader, a well-known conservative politician, made an offering to the Yasukuni on October 17 during its autumn festival. He also sent offerings during the shrine's spring festival in April and in the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II on August 15 this year.