The recently resigned Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (65) visited a controversial temple for war victims on Saturday. Previously, he avoided visits to the temple, because that site also honors fourteen convicted war criminals from World War II.
The former politician announced the visit with a photo on Twitter, a few days after he was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga. He writes that he reported his resignation in the temple.
It is noteworthy that Abe is already visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. He did this as prime minister only once, but soon stopped after furious reactions from China and South Korea. The United States then declared that it was “disappointed” with Abe.
Beijing and Seoul regard the temple in Tokyo as a symbol of Japan’s former military aggression. Despite reactions from abroad, Abe as prime minister regularly sent offerings to the temple, including on the day of the Japanese surrender.
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to Abe’s visit on Saturday that it regretted that he did this “immediately” after his resignation.
Abe announced at the end of August to resign due to health reasons. The 65-year-old Japanese suffers from the chronic disease ulcerative colitis, a persistent inflammation of the intestines. He was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.