Abe's Yasukuni Visit ``Disappoints`` Washington

Thursday, December 26, 2013

By Khaldon Azhari

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) The United States expressed "disappointment" over today's visit by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.

A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said although Japan is a valued ally and friend, the United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action which will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors.

Observers said Abe's surprise visit to the war-related Shinto shrine came at a time when there have been no signs of improvement in Japan's relations with China and South Korea. The Chinese and South Korean governments saved no time to denounce today's visit.

"The United States hopes that both Japan and its neighbors will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to improve their relations, and to promote cooperation in advancing our shared goals of regional peace and stability," the statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said noting that Washington recognized the Prime Minister’s expression of remorse for the past and his reaffirmation of Japan's commitment to peace.

An expert on Japan- US relations told PanOrient News, "it is rare" that the US openly criticize a particular action of a Japanese leader.

"Americans seem to be concerned that tension might rise in East Asia by such a visit, and that the interests of the US might be compromised when its ally, Japan, goes on its own agenda after all," he said.

"Prime Minister Abe might be promoting his own, rather than Washington's, East Asian diplomacy, and thus gambling at the expense of U.S.- designed stable relations between Japan, South Korea and China."

Photo: The U.S. Embassy building in Tokyo

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