Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi severely criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, calling it a brazen affront to people of all countries that suffered from Japanese aggression and colonial rule.
"The Chinese people cannot be insulted, nor can the people of Asia or the world be humiliated. Abe must own up to Japan's wrongdoing, correct their mistakes and take concrete measures to remove its egregious effects," Yang said in a statement. "Abe is the prime minister of Japan. His visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is by no means a domestic affair of Japan, still less an act by an individual."
"In regard to such a leader, the Chinese people will certainly not welcome him, and Chinese leaders will unquestionably not speak with him either," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "Abe has made poor calculations of China-Japan relations and made one mistake after another," Qin said, adding this move constituted a deliberate trample on human conscience and an unscrupulous challenge to truth and justice.
- The UN
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "Leaders bear a special responsibility to be sensitive to the feelings of others, especially the memory of victims, as the region should strive to be forward-looking and harmonious." It is highly regrettable that tensions from the past are still plaguing the region, Ban added.
- The United States
"We were disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors," said Marie Harf, spokeswoman of the U.S. State Department. "Our message is very clear from the words we chose."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed Russia's opposition to Abe's visit, deeming it a provocation to its Asian neighbors. Abe's visit shows that Japan is unwilling to face up to its past objectively and is trying to whitewash its militaristic history of aggression and colonial rule, he said. Russia is dissatisfied with Japan's attitude toward the outcomes of World War II.
Lavrov urged Japan to correct its erroneous historical view and avert further moves that will similarly hurt the feelings of the victims of Japanese aggression in various countries and that will inevitably intensify regional tensions. He said that Russia is ready to work with China to safeguard regional security and stability, and that Russia holds a completely identical stance with China on the Yasukuni Shrine issue.
- The EU
Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is not conducive to lowering tensions in the region or to improving relations with Japan's neighbors, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
"All countries in the region have reaffirmed their commitment to peace and stability in recent months," said the statement. "The EU has consistently emphasized the need to build on this by handling disputes with careful diplomacy and by refraining from actions which can raise tensions."
It said the EU urges the countries involved to build positive and constructive ties with their neighbors that will bolster confidence, defuse tensions and assure the long-term stability of the region.
"All nations must honestly live up to their role in the cruel war events of the 20th century…only on the basis of an honest account is it possible to build a future," said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Steffen Seibert. He suggested that Japan should face up to the history. "This is a conviction that Germany takes to heart and applies to all countries," said Seibert.
- South Korea
Seoul described the visit as "untrustworthy behavior." South Korean President Park Geun Hye criticized Japan for "digging up the wounds of the past." "In the new year …I hope that there will be no act of letting trust between countries crash and people's feelings deteriorate …" Park said.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se warned that Seoul will deal sternly with Japan's nationalist actions, saying further repercussions on the already strained relations between South Korea and Japan are inevitable.
(Source: Xinhua News Agency)