South Korea angered by Japan war shrine visit
SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea reacted angrily on Thursday to a visit by Japanese opposition leader Shinzo Abe to a Tokyo war shrine, saying Japan should "have the courage" to face up to its brutal wartime aggression.
Abe, who has a good chance of becoming Japan's next prime minister, paid his respects on Wednesday evening at the Yasukuni Shrine that honours 2.5 million war dead, including 14 leading war criminals from World War II.
A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman expressed "deep regret and concern" that such a senior political leader and former prime minister saw fit to visit "a symbol of the Japanese war of aggression and militarism."
Visits to Yasukuni by government ministers and high-profile figures always spark outrage in China and on the Korean peninsula, where many feel Japan has failed to atone for its military aggression in the first half of the 20th Century.