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María del Pilar Álvarez

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Research Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Salvador (USAL, Argentina) and Visiting Professor of the Department of International Studies at the University T. Di Tella (UTDT). Coordinator of the Research Group on East Asia of the Institute of Social Science Research (IDICSO) of the USAL. Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) of Argentina. Doctor of Social Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). Holder of a Master Degree on East Asia, Korea, from Yonsei University. Holder of a Degree in Political Science (UBA).

María del Mar Lunaklick

Holder of a Degree in International Relations from the University of Salvador (USAL). Research Assistant at the Research Group on East Asia of the Institute of Social Science Research (IDICSO) of the USAL (Argentina).

Tomás Muñoz

Advanced student in the Degree in International Relations of the University of Salvador (USAL). Worker at the Research Group on East Asia of the Institute of Social Science Research (IDICSO) of the USAL (Argentina).


Visits (or attempts to visit) to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese officials have generated a series of controversies and tensions between the countries occupied by imperialist Japan during the Pacific War. The central dilemma is that Yasukuni, emblem of Japanese militarism, questions the coherence and consistency of the requests for forgiveness made by different Japanese prime ministers to countries in the region in repentance for atrocities and violations of human rights committed in the past. The weakness of the apologies is not an exclusive problem of Japan. On the contrary, the official pardon granted by one state to another has become an increasingly common practice, but questioned in international relations. The limits of apologies in the process of reconciliation between states have led to a new research strand, aligned with the debates on transitional justice, which discusses dimensions of the level of forgiveness in terms of rectification processes. From this perspective, previous research shows that there is a tendency to analyse the case of Yasukuni without delving into the social groups that support the shrine and define the agenda of prominent personalities of local politics, especially linked to the ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who claim Yasukuni. Faced with this gap, this article examines the characteristics and modes of action of the groups in favour of Yasukuni and the responses from China and South Korea to the visits to the shrine by officials, in order to understand the peculiarities and scope of forgiveness in East Asia.


Yasukuni; forgiveness in international relations; reconciliation; East Asia.

How to cite this article

Álvarez, Maria del Pilar; Lunaklick, María del Mar; Muñoz Tomás (2016). "The limits of the forgiveness in international relations: groups supporting the Yasukuni shrine in Japan and political tensions in East Asia". JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, Nº. 2, November 2016-April 2017. Consulted [online] on the date of last consultation, (

Article received on March 3, 2016 and accepted for publication on September 10, 2016