By Asia Sentinal; Todd Crowel, THURSDAY, 02 MAY 2013: In his first four months in office Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not made a false move – until now. He and his government have waded knee-deep into historical revisionism and right-wing ultra-nationalism, bringing down the first real criticism of his new Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since it won a landslide election in December. In late April, when Asians pay respects to the dead, four members of the cabinet led by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and more than 150 members of parliament made a pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine in downtown Tokyo. It honors the spirits Japanese war dead, but also includes those of 14 Class-A war criminals condemned and executed for plotting to invade neighboring countries. Abe was not among them, but his statements in defense of their visit were perhaps more bellicose than they had to be. “My ministers will not yield to any kind of intimidation.” He told parliament defiantly. It is natural, he said, to express respect to those who have died for their county. He donated a tree as a personal offering. The visits were condemned not just from South Korea and China, as one might expect, but also from opinion leaders in the United State and abroad. Both the Washington Post and New York Times denounced the visits, especially as they came at a sensitive time when relations with between Japan and its neighbors are strained and North Korea is making threats. The last time the Yasukuni roiled relations with neighbors was during the long (by Japanese standards) administration of Junichiro Koizumi, who made annual visits to the shrine in his official capacity. Ironically it was his successor, Abe, who restored relations and good will with China by declining to visit the shrine, something he now says he deeply regrets . The Yasukuni Shrine has long been connected with state Shinto and an ultranationalist and inflammatory interpretation of Japan’s actions in World War II as being a wholly selfless effort to liberate Asia of European colonialism. Needless to say, other countries occupied by Japan don’t see things that way (Read More).