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Japan's Abe skips visit, arranges offering at controversial Yasukuni Shrine

(People's Daily Online)    17:38, October 17, 2016

File photo: Yasukuni Shrine

On Oct. 17, an offering was given at Yasukuni Shrine on behalf of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, the prime minister will not pay an in-person visit to the shrine during this year’s autumn worship, which ends on Oct. 20.

According to Japanese media analysis, Abe is likely giving priority to bettering Japan’s relationships with China and Korea, since the three countries recently coordinated on plans for a summit meeting.

On Oct. 10, Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan’s governing party, indicated that Abe may dissolve the House of Representatives and conduct a new election. Abe’s term will end in December 2018. If the LDP is able to extend Abe’s tenure and win the election, then Abe will remain in office at least until early 2021.

Shinzo Abe

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency offered the theory that, behind Abe’s skirting of the delicate historical dispute is the politician’s intention to remain in power for longer, giving him more time to realize his political agenda. In order to revise the constitution, Abe will first attempt to reduce friction with Japan’s neighboring countries, who are otherwise likely to support his opposition.

At a memorial ceremony for victims of World War II on Aug. 15, Abe claimed that Japan would adopt a modest perspective on world history, but neglected to mention introspection or offer an apology.

Moreover, the question of how to keep his own support base and still mollify the right wing is an important one for Abe, especially in relation to the annual Yasukuni Shrine controversy. Abe suspended his visits four years ago, but still organizes offerings from afar. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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