TOKYO - Japan's defense minister visited a controversial shrine to Japan's war dead on Thursday, just after accompanying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a historic visit to Pearl Harbor, where Japan's attack brought the United States into World War Two.
Television footage showed Inada visiting Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese who lost their lives in the country's wars, including several leaders executed for war crimes. Visits to the shrine by prominent Japanese officials anger neighbors China and South Korea, which consider Yasukuni a symbol of Japan's militarism and a reminder of its wartime atrocities.
Inada joined Abe and Barack Obama on Tuesday for the first visit by a Japanese leader and a US president to commemorate the victims of the Japanese attack 75 years ago.
"Japan and the United States, who engaged in the fiercest fighting, are now the strongest allies," Inada said at Yasukuni, according to the Sankei newspaper. "I made my visit wishing to firmly create peace for Japan and the world from a future-oriented perspective."