Japan PM makes offering to Yasukuni Shrine, angers China, South Korea

Japan PM makes offering to Yasukuni Shrine, angers China, South Korea
# 22 April 2014 01:55 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, angering both South Korea and China on Monday and putting regional ties under further strain, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Adding to unease in the region, a Chinese maritime court in Shanghai seized a ship on Saturday owned by Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, a move that Japan warned could have an adverse impact on its businesses in China.

The court said the company had failed to pay compensation stemming from a wartime contractual obligation. China's Foreign Ministry said the disagreement was a normal commercial dispute. Japan said the ship seizure, apparently the first time the assets of a Japanese company have been seized in a lawsuit concerning compensation for World War Two, was "extremely regrettable".

"It is inevitable that this will have an adverse impact on Japanese companies in China," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. "We strongly urge the Chinese government to make the proper response." The spat over the ship was a "regular business contract dispute", China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, adding that the government would safeguard the rights of foreign investors.

"This case has nothing to do with compensation from the Chinese-Japanese war (World War Two)," Qin told a regular news briefing. "Nothing has changed in the Chinese government's position on adhering to, and defending every principle in, the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement," he added, referring to an announcement in 1972 that the two countries were establishing official ties.

At the time, Japan also recognized the government in Beijing as the sole government of China and China gave up claims to Japanese war reparations.

"China will continue to protect the interests and rights of foreign investors in China according to law," Qin said.

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