Japan Defense Minister to make first overseas trip


Japan’s new Defense Minister Tomomi Inada is leaving on a 4-day trip to Djibouti on Saturday.

The itinerary includes August 15th, the day Japan marks the end of World War Two. Previously, Inada has visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo every year for the anniversary.

She will travel to the African country to inspect Maritime Self-Defense Force members engaged in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. It will be her first overseas trip since assuming the post earlier this month.

Yasukuni Shrine honors Japan’s war dead. Those remembered include leaders convicted of war crimes after World War Two.

Inada spoke to reporters on Friday in Komatsu city, Ishikawa Prefecture. She said MSDF members are engaged in an extremely difficult frontline mission and that she wants to give them encouragement.

The minister said the issue of Yasukuni Shrine is a matter of the heart and that she wants to make a decision appropriately as a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet.

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