Prime Minister Suga’s Cabinet made a new start after Former Prime Minister Abe resigned on September 16. Mr. Abe’s achievements in politics and economy will definitely be highly evaluated in Japan’s history. It is also noted that Former Prime Minister’s personal contribution to Japan as a politician has to be highly appreciated.
It is reported by the media that Former Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine on September 19, and reported his resignation to the souls of the war dead. The Yasukuni Shrine issue has been a long-standing problem for Japan. The shrine is seen, especially by China and South Korea, as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism because 14 leaders of the Second World War who were convicted as war criminals by the International Military Tribunal known as the Tokyo Tribunal are enshrined along with millions of war dead. Both sides have never reached a solution. Even after the Japanese government negotiated with China and South Korea on this matter, there still remain some issues to be solved. Mr. Abe made the best efforts to solve the issue. He visited Yasukuni Shrine to pray for the souls of the Japanese wartime dead in December 2013, first time in his term as the Prime Minister, but after that he did not visit the shrine and instead sent ritual offerings around key festivals. On the other hand, he could not respond well to the Japanese people who believed that the government should conduct memorial services for the war dead who died to protect Japan. Mr. Abe and his Cabinet members must have struggled to solve this dilemma. Many of the Liberal Democratic Party members expressed their own opinions on this issue individually.
When Mr. Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine yesterday, he must have been overwhelmed by a flood of emotions. Once again, I would like to express my sincere respect and gratitude to Former Prime Minister Abe for his patience and efforts in strengthening Japan’s politics and economy.