Aug 15, 2013

    Abe may make offering to Yasukuni today

    JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may make a ritual offering to a shrine seen as a symbol of Japan's former militarism, media said yesterday - a move likely to anger China and place at risk tentative diplomatic overtures by Tokyo.

    An offering today, the emotive anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II, would highlight the fine line Mr Abe seeks to tread between mending frayed China ties and appealing to his conservative support base.

    He is likely to skip visiting the Yasukuni Shrine to war dead, where people convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are also honoured. But he may make the offering through a representative of his Liberal Democratic Party, Japanese media said.

    Mr Abe and other conservatives say that it is natural to pay respects at Yasukuni to those who died for their country, especially today.

    Tokyo hopes, however, that if he stays away on the day, it could score points with China and help pave the way for a summit that Japan has been signalling it wants.