Abe's Japan Faces Uncertain Future After Yasukuni Visit

Abe's Japan faces uncertain future after Yasukuni visitJapan faces an uncertain future in its relations with other countries in 2014 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise visit to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in late December drew a cold response from key global players, such as China and the United States, and risked Japan's isolation.

Improving ties with China and South Korea appears harder than ever now, with the Asian neighbors, which view the Shinto shrine as a symbol of Japan's 20th-century militarism, condemning Abe's visit as trampling on the sentiment of their peoples and as further undermining their trust in Tokyo.

A strong sense of crisis about the U.S. response is mounting in Japan after the United States, the country's sole alliance partner, registered its disappointment over Abe's visit, with the prime minister seeking to contain the fallout by saying he will make "sincere efforts" so Washington would understand his intentions.