Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada visited war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Thursday, her first visit there since she became the country's top defense official in August.
Inada's move drew protests from Beijing and Seoul. In China and South Korea, the shrine is regarded as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, because Class-A World War II criminals are enshrined.
The visit by Inada, known for her conservative historic and political views, may affect Japan's security cooperation with South Korea to deal with North Korea's missile and nuclear development. Tokyo's defense exchanges with Beijing may also be affected.
Inada was the first defense minister to visit the shrine since Japan launched the Defense Ministry in January 2007 by reorganizing the Defense Agency. Gen Nakatani, who visited Yasukuni Shrine as defense head on Aug. 15, 2002, is believed to be the most recent predecessor of Inada that made such a visit.
The Environment Ministry said Friday that it has punished a 71-year-old part-time worker at Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in central Tokyo for neglecting to collect entry fees from some non-Japanese speakers. (Jiji)
The position of the Japan-U.S. alliance as the linchpin of Japanese foreign policy and security is an "unchanging principle," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a policy speech Friday hours before the inauguration of the next U.S. president. (Kyodo)
The organizing committee of the 2017 Asian Winter Games to be held in Hokkaido, northern Japan, next month has asked a Japanese hotel chain to take appropriate measures amid criticism for its owner's denial of the 1937 Nanjing incident. (Jiji)