China opposes Japan prime minister’s offering at Yasukuni shrine

By Thomson Reuters Apr 22, 2024 | 3:12 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China expressed strong opposition on Monday to a ritual offering made by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a controversial shrine in Tokyo that China and South Korea view as a symbol of Japan’s former military aggression.

Kishida made a bonsai offering at the Yasukuni Shrine on Sunday, Japanese media said, showing live footage of a wooden plaque with the words “Prime Minister Fumio Kishida” attached to the offering, and other cabinet members also made offerings.

“The Yasukuni shrine is dedicated to 14 Class-A war criminals who were seriously responsible for the aggressive war,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in reply to a query at a regular press briefing.

The shrine is seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan’s past military aggression because it includes Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal.

“The Chinese side firmly opposes Japan’s negative moves about the Yasukuni shrine. The Chinese foreign ministry and the Chinese embassy in Japan have made solemn statements to Japan, respectively,” Wang added.

On Sunday neighbouring South Korea also protested against Kishida’s offering, voicing “deep disappointment” and urging Japanese leaders to show repentance for the wartime past.

(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Christopher Cushing)