Aug. 11 - Japanese police keep rival demonstrators for and against the controversial Yasukuni shrine apart, as small scuffles break out. Lily Grimes reports.
Japanese police are under pressure to keep opposing groups of demonstrators apart. Those for the Yasukuni Shrine... and those against. The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo is seen as a symbol of Japan's former militarism, and that's why it's controversial. As well as remembering fallen soldiers the shrine honours 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War II. Visits by Japanese officials are politically sensitive, especially on August 15, the anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War Two. Local media say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unlikely to visit this year as he works to boost Sino-Japanese relations. Conservatives like these nationalist demonstrators say it's natural to honour those who died for their country. But opponents say it represents an aggressive past that does not fit with current geopolitical relations. There were small scuffles between the shrine's supporters and police at Saturday's demonstrations.