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December 26, 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization dedicated to learning the lessons from the Nazi Holocaust and WII criticized Japanese PM Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine as "morally wrong".

"As Prime Minister, he has the right to mourn for his nation's war—dead but not its war criminals. All people have the right to mourn the loss of their loved ones, including those who died in battle. It is morally wrong however to co-mingle such reverence with those who were responsible for ordering and carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center and a frequent visitor to Japan.

"Further, this visit comes at a particularly sensitive time of increased threats to peace in the region from North Korea. The Prime Minister's visit to the shrine will hurt his efforts to strengthen US-Japan relations and his goal of to creating a stronger united front with Asian neighbors on issues related to security," Rabbi Cooper concluded.

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).