Yasukuni and Japan's Crisis Relations in Asia"
Sven Saaler, Associate Professor, Sophia University
Kazuhiko Togo, Professor, Kyoto Sangyo University
Chris Winkler, Senior Reseach Fellow, German Institute of Japanes Studies
Language: The speech and Q&A will be in English
After treading carefully during his first year in office, all the signs are that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put his political obsessions back in the driving seat. One clear indicator was his decision on December 26 to visit Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, a memorial to Japan's war dead, including 14 high-ranking war criminals.
The pilgrimage, implying lack of remorse for the Second World War, predictably enraged China. More surprisingly, it upset Japan's staunchest ally, Washington, which desperately wants to avoid being pulled into a conflict over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, claimed by both China and Japan.
The FCCJ has asked three experts to come along and explain what the consequences might be, and why the controversy over Yasukuni is not going away anytime soon.
Chris Winkler received his PhD degree from the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Munich in 2009. His doctoral research was about "Constitutional Reform as a Symbol for Postwar Conservatism". Following a stint as visiting researcher at Chuo University's Faculty of Policy Studies, he joined the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) in December 2010.
Sven Saaler is associate professor of Japanese history at Sophia University. He has published extensively on issues of historical memory in Japan, including a 2005 book "Politics, Memory and Public Opinion." Many of his articles deal with the Japanese history textbook controversy, the Yasukuni Shrine issue and historical consciousness in Japan.
Kazuhiko Togo is a former senior career diplomat and now a professor at Kyoto Sangyo University. He researches Japan's foreign policy, covering its historical and regional perspectives, including territorial problems, historical memory, identity, Russia, Asia and the United States.
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Professional Activities Committee
Chris Winkler Kazuhiko Togo Sven Saaler