Japan honors past, tensions escalate in territorial disputes

Featured - August 15th, 2012
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Marking the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, Japanese lawmakers visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine, where more than 2 million war dead and 14 class-A war criminals are buried. Japan’s patriotism was criticized by China and South Korea, who speak in terms of the horrors experienced by their citizens under Japanese soldiers.

Amid tensions arising from issues of the past, Japan is locked in a tug-of-war between South Korea, China and Russia for territories crucial to the countries’ sovereignty. Japan recalled it ambassador to South Korea following President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to two outlying islands between the countries.

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Koichiro Gemba, proposed to take the matter to the International Court of Justice. Mr. Lee previously trudged on the issue of South Koreans used as “comfort women” by Japanese soldiers which dragged the countries relations to a new low.

Hong Kong activists planned to make a “symbolic” voyage to the islands in the East China Sea to reinforce Chinese claims. Russia continues to pull the string from the North as it announced that it would send vessels to the Russian-controlled Northern Territories to honor Soviet soldiers who died there during the Second World War.