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S. Korea expresses ‘deep regret’ as Japan’s Abe visits wartime shrine

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Yonhap)
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Yonhap)

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday expressed deep regret over former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead.

The shrine honors 14 Japanese leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals. Visits there by ranking Tokyo officials have often provoked the ire of neighboring countries such as South Korea and China, which suffered from Japan’s brutal war crimes.

“We express our deepest concern and regret that Abe paid a visit to the shrine that beautifies Tokyo’s history of invasion and aggression,” Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said. Abe wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he had visited the shrine.

“Only when senior Japanese leaders begin to act on their genuine atonement for the past, can the neighbors and international community start trusting Japan,” the ministry added.

Meanwhile, a North Korean propaganda outlet slammed Abe, describing him as a lunatic with a blind eye on militarism, taking issue with Abe’s earlier remarks as prime minister that accused the North of keeping hundreds of ballistic missiles in stock aimed at Japan.

“An imbecile who has produced nothing noteworthy while in office,” the outlet added.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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