TOKYO, March 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy said Thursday on a television program of Japan's public broadcaster NHK that Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe's visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine was not constructive to East Asian region.
"I think anything that distracts from all the positive work that we do together and makes the regional climate more difficult is something that is not as constructive moving forward because we really need to keep looking forward," Kennedy said in the interview when asked about Abe's shrine visit.
The female envoy also expressed concern about the Japan-Sino and Japan-South Korea relations, which have soured over the controversial visit, territorial disputes and historical issues.
She called Japan and South Korea "the two closest United States allies in the region," appealing Japan and South Korea to mend their relations."The two countries really should and will take the lead in this process and the United States, being a close ally of both of them, is happy to help."
The U.S. embassy to Japan avoided the interview with NHK last month mainly because its president's controversial remarks on wartime sex slavery.
Katsuto Momii, the head of NHK said on Jan. 25 that "comfort women," the euphemistic term for women forcibly recruited to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II, were used in "every country" and that the practice should not be judged by " today's morality."
He later apologized for the remarks, saying they represented his personal opinion. But his remarks were strongly condemned by China and South Korea, who suffered the most during Japan's wartime atrocities.