Japanese lawmakers visit controversial shrine amid tensions
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 01:24
April 23 - Some 168 lawmakers visit a controversial shrine in Japan as tensions increase following a visit by cabinet members and cancelled diplomatic meetings between Japan and South Korea. Sarah Sheffer reports.
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The Japanese war shrine at the heart of a renewed controversy.
Japan's Yasukuni Shrine honours the country's over 2.5 million war dead -- as well as 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal.
It became a point of strained tensions in east Asia after a Sunday visit from three Japanese cabinet members and an offering from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
A group of more than 160 Japanese lawmakers visited the site on Tuesday, only adding to the ire of regional neighbours.
Such gestures have upset Asian victims of Japan's war-time aggressions between 1867 and 1945, including China and South Korea.
South Korea's foreign ministry on Tuesday urged Japan to reflect upon the impression it was giving by visiting a place that, "beautifies a war."
And in Seoul, South Korean activists held an anti-Japan rally in front of a residence of the Japanese ambassador.
The small group of activists slashed a placard bearing a picture of Abe alongside Adolf Hitler and chanted slogans against Japan.
South Korea's foreign minister cancelled a trip to Japan after Abe's shrine offering.
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