EDINBURGH, Jan. 10 -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine sent out a signal that should worry the world, said a Chinese envoy on a local Scottish newspaper on Friday.
In a signed article published by The Scotsman, Li Ruiyou, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, said Abe's visit to the shrine on Dec. 26, 2013 triggered a great deal of anger and condemnation by the peoples and governments of China, South Korea and other Asian countries.
Even Japan's ally, the United States, said it was "disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors," said the article.
"Abe's homage to the shrine has harmed and bullied the feelings of the people of those nations victimized by Japanese aggression in the Second World War," it said, noting that the Yasukuni shrine honors 14 convicted Class-A World War II criminals among Japan's war dead.
The shrine was the spiritual instrument and symbol of Japanese militarism in its war of aggression and colonial rule during the World War II, which inflicted extreme brutalities on Asian nations, including the Nanjing Massacre and many other atrocities. China suffered as many as 35 million casualties and 600 billion U.S. dollars worth of direct and indirect losses, said the article.
By paying homage to such a shrine in his capacity as Japanese prime minister, Abe was "whitewashing the criminals of the war of aggression" and "once again rubs salt into the wound of some Asian nations," it stressed.
Nearly 70 years after the end of the war, Japan has still failed to correctly treat its past aggression and officially apologize to the victimized nations, as late West German Chancellor Willy Brandt did. The people of the victimized countries found it hard not to be indignant at Abe's behavior, it noted.
Abe, who has shown no remorse about Japan's militarist past and made no apologies for it since taking office in 2012, has, instead, done his utmost to beautify Japan's history of militaristic aggression and colonial rule, it said.
Abe's militarist attitude has made the victimized nations worried and outraged about the rising militarism in today's Japan, said the article.
Moreover, Abe has also attempted to amend Japan's post-war pacifist constitution, approving a new five-year defence plan that calls for the acquisition of drones and amphibious assault vehicles to strengthen Japan's military might -- another deviation from its post-war commitment to pacifism, it added.
The article quoted remarks made by German chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert on Abe's visit to the shrine as saying that, "All nations must honestly live up to their role in the horrible events of the 20th century. Only on the basis of this honest accounting is it possible to build a future with former foes. This is a conviction Germany takes to heart and which in my opinion applies to all states."
Abe talks a lot about peace, but his actions apparently have taken the other direction. "Should he really want peace with his neighboring countries, why can't he face up squarely to the history of Japanese aggression and make sincere apologies officially to its victimized nations, as the German chancellor did?" asked the article.