The Yasukuni Shrine sits in a quiet neighbourhood in central Tokyo, but this week it became one of Asia's most controversial sites.
Among the 2.5 million names enshrined in the Shinto temple, of the Japanese who died in service to the emperor from 1867 through World War II, are 14 Class A war criminals as judged by post-World War II tribunals. These include the notorious Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan from 1941 to 1944, under whom Japan committed some of its worst wartime atrocities.
Nonetheless, almost every year Japanese politicians _ from members of parliament to prime ministers _ visit the shrine to pay respects during the temple's Spring Festival. Such visits have long offended China and other Asian countries that suffered at the hands of the Japanese during the war. Until recently, no country had the stature or inclination to do much about it.
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