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Cabinet Minister, Former PM Visit Shrine

A Japanese cabinet minister and a former prime minister yesterday visited the Yasukuni Shrine on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the nation's defeat in World War II.


When asked in what capacity he was paying the visit to the shrine, which honors 14 WWII Class-A war criminals along with the nation's war dead, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said: "I'm a cabinet minister."


Prior to Nakagawa, former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto also paid a visit.


The visits by Japanese politicians have enraged other Asian countries that suffered from Japanese aggression and colonial rule in the first half of 20th century.


Meanwhile, the chairman of South Korea's ruling Uri Party said yesterday that the future of the relationship between Japan and his country largely depends on how Japan views history.


Moon Hee-sang, who made the remarks in a written interview carried by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, pointed out although a number of Japanese leaders have offered apologies for their country's invasion and hostile occupation of some Asian countries and regions during WWII, their apologies have been made "meaningless" by an equally large number of Japanese leaders saying the opposite.


"It would not be an overstatement to say that the very foundation of the South Korea-Japan relationship depends on Japan's recognition of correct accounts of history," he said.


"That is why we are continuously asking Japan to make a sincere apology and reflect on its past wrongdoing through action."


One way for Japan to show its sincerity, according to Moon, would be to compensate Korean victims of its colonization.


(China Daily August 15, 2005)

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