by Yoo Seungki
JINDO, South Korea, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Japan was a friend of South Korea one time and an enemy the other as history says. Now, at a time when Japan may have become a heartfelt neighbor, or at least not an enemy, to South Korea, its leadership decided to add fuel to the flames of its bereft next-door neighbor by visiting the war-linked Yasukuni shrine.
A Confucian tradition, which the two countries share, says that even cats and dogs refrain from hostile acts during the period of the other's mourning. While South Korea is mourning deaths of teenagers nationwide, Japan raised emotive troubles once again.
On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an offering to the Yasukuni, where 14 World War II leaders convicted as Class- A war criminals are enshrined along with other war dead, in the first day of the shrine's spring festival under the name of prime minister.
On Tuesday morning, about 150 Japanese lawmakers from a nonpartisan group and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindoon visited the shrine, in a move that glorify and whitewash atrocities and war of aggression committed by their predecessors.
These acts happened when families of hundreds of missing high school students in South Korea were praying for a miracle.
A ferry sinking disaster in South Korea's southwestern coast have left more than 300 people dead or missing. The seventh day into search on Tuesday, 26 bodies were carried in rescue boats to the pier where hundreds of parents and relatives are waiting anxiously.
On Monday when 28 bodies were found from the sunken South Korean vessel, Abe sent the offering in the name of "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe" to the shrine. When parents collapsed in tears after identifying bodies of children, the group of Japanese politicians paid respect to the shrine reminiscent of disasters that the Imperial Japan caused to many Asian nations.
Many South Korean news outlets rebuked Abe and his cabinet for their provocative acts toward the disaster area where waves of mourning are weighing heavy on people nationwide.
Local daily Segye Ilbo depicted the Japanese leadership's visit and Abe's offering to the shrine as "Japan's Yasukuni provocation, " criticizing Japan's disregard of the catastrophe.
An anchor at TV Chosun, a local broadcaster, reported that Abe' s offering can be likened to a camouflaged tribute to the shrine, noting it was like battering at hearts of South Koreans which have already become black and blue.
"The disorderly Japan" could be an expression of its leadership 's dissatisfaction with the United States, which they may believe frustrated the leadership's initial expectations, local daily Munwha Ilbo said.
The United States said it was "disappointed" after Abe went to the shrine in December 2013 for the first time in seven years as a sitting premier. The closest ally of Japan might have worried about such provocation angering its neighbors China and South Korea.
To express its dissatisfaction towards the U.S. stance, Abe and cabinet members possibly made a visit to the shrine like a spoilt child on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama's Asian tour, according to the daily.
Obama is scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Friday for a two- day trip after staying in Japan for three days. The week-long tour will also take the U.S. president to Malaysia and the Philippines.
Another local daily Jungang Ilbo said that Japan's provocation coincided with Obama's Asian tour and South Korea's ferry disaster, forecasting it will poison Obama's pivot-to-Asia strategy which needs trilateral cooperation between the three countries.