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Obama, Abe to battle negative images at U.S.-Japan summit

By Linda Sieg and David Brunnstrom TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When U.S. President Barack Obama meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a summit next week, they will be battling negative undercurrents that could undermine their message that Asia's most important security alliance is firm. Obama, stopping in Tokyo at the beginning of a four-nation Asian trip, must counter worries in Japan that his commitment to its defense in the face of an increasingly assertive China is weak.

Abe shows reluctance to build new war memorial to replace Yasukuni

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday dismissed the idea of building a new memorial to replace the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, amid tensions with Asian neighbors, saying the Shinto shrine is a major venue for mourning. "I don't think it is appropriate for the state to build a new facility and say 'Please do it here from now'," Abe told a symposium in Tokyo. Yasukuni is "a main place for mourning," he continued, saying that "such a feeling is shared by family members" of the war dead.

Chinese leader accuses Abe of damaging bilateral ties

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang slammed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting with Japanese business leaders on Tuesday, putting the blame squarely on the Abe government for the severe strains in bilateral ties. "The Abe regime is causing a lot of visible and invisible damage (to Japan-China ties) with the way it is acting now," Wang said in a meeting with a Japanese business delegation led by former House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono.

China denies naval snub for Japan over fleet review

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's navy on Tuesday denied, in a roundabout way, that it snubbed Japan by not inviting it to join in a naval fleet review as part of an international symposium, saying the two events had never been linked in the first place. U.S. officials have said the United States was invited to join the parade of ships as part of activities linked to the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, which is being held this month in Qingdao, an eastern port city.

U.S. hopes Japan will resolve history issues with neighbors

The United States on Monday reiterated its hope that Japan will address its neighbors' concerns over history issues through dialogue, following a visit by a Cabinet minister to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine just ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to Japan. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Washington encourages Japan to work with its neighbors "to resolve concerns over history in an amicable way through dialogue."

Asian countries protest Japanese minister's Yasukuni visit

China, South Korea and Taiwan condemned a visit by Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Saturday. "This once again shows the mistaken attitude of the current Japanese Cabinet toward history," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. China has lodged solemn representations and protests with the Japanese side, he said.

China protests after Japanese minister visits shrine for war dead

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry lodged a protest with Japan on Saturday after a Japanese minister visited a shrine which is seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo's wartime aggression. China, as well as South Korea, has repeatedly expressed anger in the past over Japanese politicians' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle.

Japan minister visits controversial war shrine

A Japanese cabinet minister visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo on Saturday, in a move that sparked condemnation by South Korea, which along with China sees it as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. Television footage showed Yoshitaka Shindo, minister for internal affairs and communications, paying homage Saturday morning at the Yasukuni shrine. The shrine honours Japan's war dead including several high-level officials executed for war crimes after World War II.

Japan minister visits controversial war shrine

A Japanese cabinet minister visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo on Saturday, in a move that sparked rebukes from South Korea and China, both of whom view it as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. Television footage showed Yoshitaka Shindo, minister for internal affairs and communications, paying homage Saturday morning at the Yasukuni shrine. The shrine honours Japan's war dead including several high-level officials executed for war crimes after World War II.

Seoul criticizes Japanese minister's visit to Yasukuni shrine

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea criticized Japan's internal affairs minister Saturday for visiting a controversial war shrine in Tokyo, calling it a "retrograde" action. Japan's minister for internal affairs, Yoshitaka Shindo, paid his respect at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo during a local memorial ceremony there earlier in the day. Hours later, the South Korean foreign ministry issued a statement denouncing the visit.
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