Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni war shrine Friday
Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo on Friday paid
a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on the occasion of an autumn festival there that began Thursday.
Reports say that a bipartisan group of 1-hundred-59 Japanese lawmakers also visited the shrine Friday morning, which, according to Japan's Sankei Shimbun, is the largest number of lawmakers to visit for the festival since 1989.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, stayed away, in an apparent gesture to mend ties with Korea and China.
The two Asian nations, both victims of Japanese aggression before and during World War II, regard Yasukuni as a symbol of the country's past militarism, as it enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals along with its war dead.
The prime minister did, however, make an offering of a masakaki tree Thursday.
Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday expressed regret and concern about Abe's offering, saying that Yasukuni glorifies Japan's past militarism.
On-going conflicts with neighboring countries over historical matters came up when Korea's parliamentary committee on education audited the nation's educational institutions on Friday.
A new Korean history textbook authored by conservatives, preliminarily approved for use in high schools next year, took center stage.
Critics say the textbook from Kyohak Publishing Corporation glamorizes Japan's imperial rule over Korea and the Koreans who supported it.
"The textbook by Kyohak says Japan's colonization of Korea contributed to the nation's modernization. What's your take on that?"
"I oppose that theory. That's something that Korea cannot accept."
"I support the view that Japan suppressed and plundered Korea."
"The lawmakers also demanded that the heads of history and education institutions focus on countering attempts made by Japan and China to distort Korean history. They stressed that true peace in the region can only be achieved when the countries resolve their historical conflicts. Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News."
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