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China, Japan, and India's Asian Arms Race

Japan's 19,500-ton Izumo helicopter carrier is launched in Yokohama on Aug. 6
Japan's 19,500-ton Izumo helicopter carrier is launched in Yokohama on Aug. 6Photograph by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

China and Japan managed to get past the Aug. 15 anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II without incident. For weeks leading up to the date, the question was, will he or won’t he? Will Shinzo Abe, the conservative prime minister who last year infuriated the Chinese by visiting the Yasukini Shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates Japan’s war dead—including war criminals from World War II—go to the shrine on the anniversary?

Abe has enough on his agenda without provoking another crisis with China, so he decided to stay clear. Three members of his cabinet did go to Yasukini, part of a group of 100 members of Japan’s parliament who prayed at the shrine. While Abe wasn’t one of them, the prime minister did make a gesture to his nationalist supporters, sending a cash offering to the shrine.