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Published: Fri, December 30, 2016
Business | By Patricia Jimenez

And Japan seek absolution from the war

And Japan seek absolution from the war

Tomomi Inada paid her respects at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine after accompanying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a visit to Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, the site of the December 7, 1941 surprise Japanese aircraft carrier attack that led to the United States joining World War II.

Tomomi Inada visited the Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo on Thursday morning, television footage showed.

Meanwhile, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official, touching on Abe's pledge never to wage war again in the speech, said that Japan, based on a correct understanding of history, should strive further to promote reconciliation and cooperation with neighbors that fell victim to its wartime militarism.

"This year the president of the country that dropped the atomic bomb visited Hiroshima and yesterday the prime minister made remarks of consolation at Pearl Harbor", Inada told reporters at Yasukuni. "I visited the shrine wishing to firmly create peace for Japan and the world from a future-oriented perspective", the hawkish politician said, according to Reuters. Is this an act of provocation against China and South Korea?

South Korea's Defense Ministry expressed "serious concern and regret".

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Yasukuni was consecrated in 1869 as the national military shrine for the spirits of the nation's warriors, but it became more than that when, in 1979, it was discovered that 14 Class A war criminals had been secretly enshrined there the year before.

"As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my honest and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the fearless men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place", Abe said later at nearby Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

"It will only make the people of the world more on-guard against Japan's actions and intentions", she said. Especially sensitive in China is the sack of Nanking, where hundreds of thousands of Chinese are believed to have been killed and raped during the Japanese army's vicious 1937 attack.

In the years after Pearl Harbor, the USA incarcerated roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans in internment camps before dropping atomic bombs in 1945 that killed some 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki.

This was Inada's first homage since becoming minister in the summer, but she is a regular visitor.

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