Abe to decide whether to visit Yasukuni by year-end from "broad perspective": Suga.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will decide "from a broad perspective" whether to visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine by the end of the year," the government's top spokesman said Monday.
"The prime minister himself will decide (whether to visit) from a broad perspective. That says it all," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference without elaborating. A day earlier, an aide in Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party indicated the prime minister will pay a visit by the end of December.
"The prime minister has said it was regrettable that he could not visit the shrine during his first term in office (between 2006 and 2007)," Suga said.
On Sunday, Koichi Hagiuda, an LDP lower house member who is serving as special aide to Abe in the latter's role as LDP chief, said he thinks Abe will visit the shrine by the one-year anniversary of his government's launch in December.
"Some people say he should visit the shrine sometime while he is prime minister, but a visit to the shrine should be made at least once a year," he said.
The shrine is seen by Japan's Asian neighbors as a symbol of its past militarism, as it honors Class-A war criminals along with Japan's war dead. Past visits by prime ministers and Cabinet members have angered China and South Korea, both of which suffered Japan's wartime aggression.
During the shrine's annual autumn festival through Sunday, Abe refrained from visiting and instead sent a "masakaki" tree offering in an apparent bid to avoid worsening already strained ties with China and South Korea, while also taking heed of his conservative support base, but two of his Cabinet ministers paid a visit.