Singapore regrets Japan PM Abe’s visit to WWII shrine: The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Sunday said that the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on December 26 to the controversial Yasukuni shrine is regrettable, in response to media queries into the visit.
“Singapore regrets the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Yasukuni Shrine. Our consistent position has been that such visits reopen old grievances, and are unhelpful to building trust and confidence in the region,” said an MFA spokesman.
Tensions in the region have been rising due to a recent series of events, actions, and counter-actions, undertaken by several different parties, the spokesman noted, and that Thursday’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine is likely to evoke further negative feelings and reactions among the parties involved, said reports.
Abe’s visit to the shrine was the first by a sitting prime minister of Japan since the 2006 visit by Mr. Junichiro Koizumi.
The MFA spokesman stressed that it is in the best interest of all parties to exercise restraint, and to avoid actions that could increase tensions, seeking rather to create an environment of greater mutual trust and understanding.
Japan’s Yasukuni shrine honours 2.5 million killed in the Second World War, including some convicted class A war criminals.
Mr. Abe’s visit to the shrine occurred on the first anniversary of his taking office as prime minister, and appears as a departure from his “pragmatic” approach to foreign policy, in which he has made efforts to avoid alienating other countries in the region, noted reports.
He had visited Yasukuni previously when not in office as the prime minister, and had expressed regret over his decision not to visit the shrine during his previous one-year term in office back in 2006 to 2007.
Because of Japan’s brutal aggression during World War II, visits to the shrine by Japanese politicians have long been a point of contention with China and South Korea.