Japan urged by US to improve ties with neighbors

Japan urged by US to improve ties with neighbors

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Chuck Hagel, the US Defense Secretary has urged Japan to improve its relations with neighbors. The recent statement has been made following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit a controversial war shrine. Abe made his first visit as the Prime Minister to Yasukuni shrine on December 26, 2013.

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The visit in question angered the people of China and South Korea as the shrine honors the war dead of Japan, including several high-level officials who were executed for war crimes after the World War II. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary in a statement posted on the US Defense Department site on January 4, 2014 said, “Secretary Hagel underscored the importance of Japan taking steps to improve relations with its neighbors, and to promote cooperation in advancing the shared goals of regional peace and stability”.

These comments were published following telephone talks between Hagel and Itsunori Onodera, the Defense Minister of Japan. China, as well as other Asian countries say that the shrine reminds of Japan’s aggression in the 20th century. It is also a source of bitterness between Japan and its neighbors and the visit by Abe sparked criticism from the United States.

Hagel thanked the Japanese government for its efforts in securing approval from the governor of Okinawa to move towards relocating an US Marine Corps air base on the island.

Photo Credits: MSN