However, is it no less grating to Japan's neighbors in northeast Asia who still seethe over Japan's brutal occupation of their territories?
No, it's not. They're pissed, and I don't mean that in the British sense. They're angry: China, S. Korea slam shrine visit.
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A defiant Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has prayed at the Yasukuni war shrine to mark Tokyo's World War II surrender, triggering immediate protests by China and South Korea but cheering his conservative followers.
It was Koizumi's sixth visit to the shrine since taking office in 2001, but his first on the highly symbolic August 15 anniversary of Japan's 1945 defeat. He is the first prime minister to visit on that day since Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1985.
The shrine visits have been a lightening rod for critics who accuse Japan of failing to fully atone for its military invasions in the 1930s and 40s. The shrine honors convicted war criminals among Japan's 2.5 million war dead.
Koizumi, who steps down as prime minister next month, made Tuesday's pilgrimage in the face of Chinese and South Korean warnings that it would further damage ties already frayed by earlier pilgrimages and other disagreements. (click here for the full article on CNN.com)
This really is like a US President deciding to lay a wreath on St. Simons Island a place where Africans drowned themselves rather than become slaves to commemorate American commerce or going to the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre to commemorate the American explorer.
What Koizumi does as a private citizen is one thing, but as the Prime Minister of Japan he should exercise more care. Let's hope the next Prime Minister of Japan does.
Shrine visit stirs muted outrage
Arsonist attempts ritual suicide (a Japanese arsonist burned down the home of a Japanese politician criticial of Koizumi's Yasukuni visits).
Koizumi Stirs Anger With War Shrine Visit
5 Taiwan activists Adepart for Tiaoyutais to protest Shrine visit
North Korea Criticizes Koizumi's Visit to Yasukuni Shrine