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Abe to Delay His Next Yasukuni Visit

Posted September. 18, 2006 07:05,   


It was reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, the front-runner to become Japan’s next Prime Minister, is unlikely to visit Yasukuni shrine until next July.

A Japanese diplomatic source noted, “Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi, who visited Korea on September 6 for the third round of vice Ministerial Strategy meeting between Korean-Japan, told Korea’s first vice Foreign Minister Yoo Myung-hwan that if Abe becomes a new Prime Minister, he wouldn’t visit the Yasukuni shrine for a while.”

The source added, “Vice Foreign Minister Yachi mentioned that Japanese Prime wouldn’t visit Yasukuni shine until the upper house election scheduled for next July since Secretary Abe doesn’t want Yasukuni shrine visit to become a political issue.”

When asked whether he thought Secretary Abe wouldn’t pay a visit to Yasukuni shrine at a general meeting of the Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee of Korea’s National Assembly on September 13, Vice Foreign Minister Yoo replied, “I think so. I got the feeling that Abe wouldn’t visit the shrine while talking to Japanese people.”

Secretary Abe was said to be moving forward with a plan to hold a summit meeting with Korean and China within this year if he is elected a new Prime Minister. The Korea-Japan summit has practically been suspended since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni shrine last October 17.

The government was reported to have decided to have a summit meeting between the two countries on the sideline of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to be held in November on the assurance from Japan that its new Prime Minister would abstain from visiting the Yasukuni shrine.

Meanwhile, at a forum on September 11, Secretary Abe said, “I won’t pay an official visit to Yasukuni shrine after taking power,” and added that his visit to Yasukuni shrine would be unofficial under any circumstances. However, Abe declined to comment on whether or not he would visit Yasukuni shrine afterward.