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00:00:02
>> A controversial ritual in Japan while tension soars in east Asia. Japanese leader Shinzo Abe sending an offering to the infamous Yasukuni shrine on Tuesday, but not attending in person. Japan is marking the anniversary of its World War II surrender at a monument to its war dead that neighboring countries see as a tribute to fascism.
00:00:21
Visits by past Japanese leaders have sparked outrage. Reuters' Elaine Lees explains why this is a particularly important time for Abe not to be seen there.>> It's pretty much a guarantee to annoy most of Asia. Annoy China, it would annoy South Korea, it would annoy North Korea. Sometimes, it even annoys Taiwan.
00:00:40
And at this time, especially when everybody's trying to pull together to kind of counter the North Korean missile threat, it would be the worst of bad moves. For all the countries outside of Japan, it's a symbol of Japanese militarism. There are 14 convicted war criminals who are honored there along with the other ordinary war dead.
00:01:03
And so, it's a very emotionally loaded place for the rest of Asia.>> Tension with North Korea weighed on the minds of the ordinary Japanese at the shrine on Tuesday, one telling Reuters he was furious over the missile threat. But while Pyongyang's actions may be bringing Japan closer to its Pacific allies, many would still find it hard to forgive Abe if he showed up at the shrine.
00:01:25
>> Abe went in, I think, it was 2013, and he just really got a very strong response from everyone in Asia. But not only from the other countries in Asia, even the United States scolded him, and that chilled relations with China and South Korea for a while. When Prime Minister Koizumi went it was a much worse situation and it took months if not years to recover.
00:01:49
>> Abe's offering alone sparked protest from Chinese state media which urged Japan to use the occasion to reflect on its military past instead of putting relations at risk at a critical time.