| Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not mention Japan`s wartime atrocities in his speech on Friday, the 69th anniversary of Japan`s surrender at the end of World War II. Some of his Cabinet ministers and lawmakers visited the Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japan`s war dead, including Class-A war criminals, annoying neighboring countries including South Korea and China.
At a memorial ceremony for Japan`s war dead held at Budokan in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Abe delivered his address without making the no-war pledge that all his predecessors since 1993 had included in their memorial speeches.
Instead, Abe expressed his condolences for the war dead, saying Japan will not forget that the country owes today`s peace and prosperity to their sacrifices.
Prior to the memorial ceremony, the Japanese prime minister dedicated flowers to the Chidorigafuchi cemetery that houses the remains of unidentified soldiers. He did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine but sent a ritual offering to it through his proxy. Although he paid for the offering out of his pocket, it was sent under the title of the president of Japan`s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Among Abe`s Cabinet members, National Public Safety Commission Keiji Furuya, Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo and Minister of State for Regulatory Reform Tomomi Inada visited the shrine.
In addition, 84 lawmakers including LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi visited the shrine.
South Korea`s foreign ministry spokesman issued a statement criticizing the shrine visits, saying that Japanese politicians should show in action their reflection upon past history so that the Seoul-Tokyo ties will develop stably.