11/23/2015, 00.00
JAPAN
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Tokyo: explosion at Yasukuni,focal point of Japanese patriotism

An explosion damaged the bathrooms of the shrine where Japanese honor the heroes of the Second World War. No deaths or injuries. Some of the fallen venerated there are considered war criminals by the international community, and especially China and the two Koreas.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An explosion occurred this morning at the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, damaging the roof and floor of the bathroom building. There were no deaths or injuries.

Police in the capital say it is not clear what caused the detonation but said that the remains of cables and batteries were found on the spot.

They suspect it was a deliberate attack on the shrine where Japanese honor their heroes of the Second World War, some of which are considered criminals by the international community, and especially China and the two Koreas. Visits to the shrine by Japanese politicians often causes tensions with these countries.

The fire brigade immediately intervened along with the bomb squad to check for unexploded objects. The detonation caused a hole of 30 cm in the ceiling. The Shinto shrine is especially busy today for the start of the festival of the first fruits, a holiday in Japan. Following the incident, children’s’ visits to Yasukuni for the festival were cancelled.

For the Japanese, the Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol of patriotism. There the war dead are revered more than remembered. The list of heroes, however, also include 14 criminals of World War II.

Last April, the visit to the shrine by a member of the Shinzo Abe government, a few hours after his meeting with the Japanese Prime Xi Jinping sparked protests from Beijing.

Since 2006, the Japanese Catholic Church has affirmed that "it is impossible to argue that it is right, for a Catholic,to visit the sanctuary".

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