Whether the Japanese prime minister should visit Yasukuni Shrine or not has been a very controversial issue for a long time between Japan and neighboring Asian countries such as China, South and North Korea, and Taiwan. Yasukuni Shrine is a shrine which enshrines more than 2,466,000 Japan’s war dead. So why is it controversial? The controversy is that Yasukuni is seen as a war shrine by those countries like China who suffered the most from Japanese aggression. In addition, since a group of Class-A war criminals were enshrined here in 1979 the neighboring countries see any visit to this shrine by the Japanese prime minister as an act of endorsement for Japan's acts of aggression during the wartime. The most recent visit was made by the former Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi in 2006. Although Koizumi explained that his visits were intended to commemorate the war dead and to pray for world peace, the rage of neighbors has not settled yet. Though there are numerous opinions about whether the prime minister should visit the shrine or not, I think that the prime minister of Japan must not visit the shrine.
First of all, the enshrinement of Class-A war criminals should be in high consideration in terms of whether or not the prime minister should visit the shrine. Although it is understandable to commemorate those who had fought in wars and sacrificed themselves, those 14 Class-A war criminals are different. They were the people who led the armies and as a result, were convicted of war offenders. If the prime minister were to visit the shrine and bow, it would give people an impression of appreciating the war criminals’ commitment even if that is not his intention. The former Prime Minister, Koizumi, gave his answer to this matter by saying, “I did not pray for specific people. I prayed for the war dead as a whole to express grief.”  Even though