Japan’s PM Abe Faces Quandary Over Visiting Controversial Shrine That Honors War Criminals


Will he or won’t he? As Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, approaches, it’s time to take bets on whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine. The Shinto place of worship is where the country’s war dead are memorialized, including some convicted war criminals who orchestrated Japan’s brutal occupation of neighboring Asian nations. The conventional wisdom in Tokyo is that Abe, despite his nationalist campaign rhetoric before he came to power in December, won’t make a pilgrimage to the controversial shrine this week. After all, during Abe’s first stint as Prime Minister in 2006–07, he stayed away from Yasukuni. Nevertheless, as assertive foreign policies are gaining sway regionally, observers in neighboring nations are on guard. Abe himself has stayed mum on his Aug. 15 schedule.

(PHOTOS:Japan One Year After the Tsunami)

Even if the Prime Minister does…

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