Defense Minister Inada’s homage at Yasukuni Shrine has elicited only a moderate reaction on social media in Japan, as the number of tweets has not exceeded two thousands. The most popular message (retweeted almost 1,000 times) was posted by LDP Upper House lawmaker Masahiha Sato, who said: “I think Japan should become a country in which the prime minister can go to Yasukuni after visiting Pearl Harbor. What do you think?” Many Twitter users apparently “liked” this comment, with most of them saying that no person or country should object to Japanese politicians paying homage at the Shinto shrine. Some of the proponents reacted negatively to an NTV story on Inada’s Yasukuni visit that highlighted some MOD officials’ apprehension that it will slow down the momentum for bilateral defense exchanges with South Korea and China.
Inada’s critics were skeptical of her motive for the visit, focusing on the following remark she made about Yasukuni several years ago: “Yasukuni is not a place to pledge not to repeat the horror of war again. It is a place to promise that ‘we will follow in your footsteps if a contingency occurs in our homeland.'” One person tweeted that “Inada’s visit proved that Prime Minister Abe’s vow of tolerance and renunciation of war at Pearl Harbor was an empty promise.”