This shrine was built in 1869 and honors the over 2.5 million Japanese that lost lives during recent conflict and war. Asian governments (most notably China and Korea) get upset when the Japanese Prime Ministers visits this shrine because some of those honored here took part in gruesome invasions of East Asia in the early part of the twentieth century. On the other hand, visiting this shrine is a political duty of the Japanese Prime Minister and not doing would alienate domestic popularity. It seems a no-win situation. Several days after I left Japan and was in China, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the shine and stirred international attention.