Japan's defence minister Tomomi Inada declines to say if she will visit war shrine

Japan's newly appointed Defense Minister Tomomi Inada speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Aug 3, 2016.
Japan's newly appointed Defense Minister Tomomi Inada speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Aug 3, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's new defence minister, Tomomi Inada, declined to say on Wednesday (Aug 3) whether she would visit a controversial war shrine in Tokyo ahead of the Aug 15 anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two.

"It's a matter of conscience and I don't think I should comment on whether I will go or not," Inada said at a press briefing after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed her.

Inada, a close ally of Abe and a supporter of revamping Japan's pacifist constitution, has made regular visits to the Yasukuni shrine, which honours the nation's war dead, including war criminals executed after the World War Two.

 

Visits to the shrine by Japanese political leaders infuriate China and South Korea, which believe Japan has never fully atoned for its wartime aggression.

Inada said she wanted to strengthen security ties with South Korea and also said Japan had no need to possess nuclear weapons.