Yesterday (2012 August 15), was the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II.
And, as is done every August 15th in Tokyo, some Japanese politicans went to the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)… which is the shrine in Japan that honors all who died defending Japan in war… to pay tribute.
All who died in Japan’s defense are enshrined there … including those who were found guilty of war crimes by the U.S. war tribunals.
For that reason, many of Japan’s neighboring countries don’t like Yasukuni Shrine … and get upset when Japanese politicans visit it.
But really, the shrine doesn’t exclude war dead based on another country’s war court verdict … in the same way that all of America’s soldiers who die in battle can be buried at Arlington Cemetary, all of Japan’s soldiers are honored at Yasukuni Shrine.
But that isn’t the only political debate neighboring countries have with Japan.
China, Russia and South Korea have border disputes with Japan.
After their victory over the Japanese team at the Olympics, a player on South Korea’s Olympic soccer team held up a sign declaring that the disputed Takeshima Island is Korean territory. The Korean team almost lost their medal because of that.
Then, the South Korean president visited the island – - unannounced visits to disputed land by a political leader isn’t probably a wise move.
And then, yesterday … the anniversary of the end of World War II, some Korean men attempted to swim to the island. They didn’t make it there, so Japan didn’t need to take any action … but their attempt made the news.
And then yesterday, a Chinese boat was intercepted by the Japanese Coast Guard as it tried to head to the Senkaku Islands … which is disputed land between Japan and China.
The Chinese people onboard are currently in a Japanese jail. China is demanding that they be freed.
This seems to happen every year at this time.