China expressed opposition Tuesday to a possible visit by at least one of the members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.
"China will never accept it," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement, pointing out that any visits to the shrine by Japanese political leaders would mean the country's denial of its militaristic past and the invasion of some parts of Asia.
Tomomi Inada, state minister in charge of administrative reform, is considering visiting the Shinto shrine where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honored along with millions of war dead, on the anniversary day, sources close to her said earlier this month.
China and South Korea, in particular, regard the shrine as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.
But Abe said again Tuesday that he will not restrict his Cabinet members from visiting the shrine.
Still, Abe has made up his mind not to visit the shrine on the anniversary day out of consideration for already frayed relations with China and South Korea, according to government and ruling party sources.
In addition to facing up to its past, the Chinese statement urged Japan to "speak and act cautiously, and take concrete actions to win the trust of its neighboring countries in Asia and the international community."