The head of a controversial Shinto shrine in Japan has decided to resign after being known statements in which he criticizes the imperial family, according to local media today.
Kunio Kohori, 68, is the highest priest of the Tokyo shrine of Yasukuni, where he honors the more than two million fallen by Japan between 1853 and 1945, including the military who fought in the service of the emperor.
Among them are 14 notorious politicians and officers of the Imperial Army convicted as class A war criminals at the end of World War II, so the place has been wracked by controversy for years and any official approach to it generates discomfort among former enemies from Japan.
According to the local press, Kohori accused Emperor Akihito of "walking away" from Yasukini's sanctuary and trying to "crush" him because of that disinterest.
He also noted that Princess Masako, wife of the crown prince, "hates" the Shinto shrines.
Those statements, made at a meeting held last June at the shrine, were initially picked up by the Shukan Post magazine, but were left in doubt until the temple priest acknowledged using them.
The priest contacted representatives of the Japanese imperial family to apologize and announce that he will soon retire as head of Yasukuni.
For its part, the shrine acknowledged in a statement sent Wednesday to local media that Kohori's statements were "extremely inappropriate."
One of the strongest controversies linked to that temple took place as a result of a surprise visit made to the sanctuary in 2013 by the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, which sparked a wave of criticism from China and South Korea. who suffered most from Japanese colonialism and criticize its symbolism.
As a result, the head of the Japanese Government has opted to send floral offerings to that temple regularly, but not visit it.