JAPAN: From Shrines to Tanks, Abe’s Cabinet Faces Criticism

JEREMIAH FARJADO WRITES- Will the Japanese government ever learn?


Once again, Japanese tension with the Chinese and South Koreans have flared up due to a recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine by over 150 Japanese politicians, including members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet. As Bloomberg and Kotaku, a popular pop-culture news site, noted, the shrine is infamous for its honoring of Japan’s fallen soldiers from WWII, including several Class-A war criminals.


The controversial visit has done little to help the country, who is still bickering with China over the diminutive Senkaku, or Diaoyu, islands. Further, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se announced the cancellation of a visit to Japan in response to the issue. Yet, despite this tension, Abe has fearlessly chosen to appeal to the social media conscious generation whilst in a tank.


At an event hosted by Nico Nico Douga, Japan’s popular video-sharing website akin to YouTube, Abe gave a short speech about how the Internet has become an integral part of Japanese politics. It was after this that he climbed into a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Type-10 tank while dressed in a soldier’s uniform. While perhaps good for his popularity amongst the younger generation, Abe’s actions could be harmful to future negotiations with China. Addressing one’s citizens from a tank while clothed in military regalia is hardly a wise choice when pursuing peace talks with an irritated neighbor.


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