Aug. 15 (UPI) — South Korea’s foreign ministry expressed “deep concern” following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s decision to make a ritual offering at Yasukuni Shrine, a memorial to Japan’s war dead, including convicted war criminals.
Seoul said Wednesday leaders of the Japanese government and parliament were making ritual offerings at a shrine that glorified a history of colonial invasion and wars of aggression, Yonhap reported.
Japan colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945.
“The [South Korean] government urges Japanese political leaders to show sincere introspection and remorse regarding the past,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said.
Such an attitude could provide the foundation for a future-oriented Korea-Japan relationship, the ministry added.
NHK World reported Wednesday that Abe marked the anniversary of the end of World War II with a ritual offering, made through ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masahiko Shibayama, who visited the Tokyo shrine.
Ruling and opposition party politicians attended the shrine as a group on the day that is also a holiday of national liberation in South Korea.
The issue of Japan’s wartime past was being raised in South Korea on Wednesday.
Labor and other civic organizations held a rally outside the Japanese consulate in Busan, and said they plan to erect a statue in honor of forced Korean laborers who worked in Japan’s wartime industries, Yonhap reported.
The plans for the statue were scrapped earlier this year.