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Abe sends offering to shrine honouring Japan's war dead

AP  |  Tokyo 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering today to the controversial Yasukuni shrine that honours Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals.

The leafy "masakaki" plant was sent for the shrine's spring festival the same day that more than 90 Japanese lawmakers and Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi visited Yasukuni.

Abe has made regular offerings for Yasukuni's seasonal festivals but has not visited the shrine since December 2013, when he drew rebukes not only from and but also the United States.

As victims of Japan's aggression before and during World War II, and see the shrine as a symbol of Japan's militarism.

South Korea, in a written statement, expressed "deep concern and regret over responsible political leaders of the and the of having once again sent offerings to and paid tribute at the Yasukuni Shrine, which glorifies Japan's past colonial rule and war of aggression and enshrines war criminals."

In Beijing, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said "the ones who attended the Yasukuni shrine are honouring war criminals who have direct responsibility for crimes committed during World War II."

He urged to "reflect and examine their history of colonisation, and to sever ties with their militarism past."

Hidehisa Otsuji, the head of a lawmaker group campaigning for official visits to the shrine, said he believed the prime minister's decision on whether to make personal visits should be based on "the priorities of national interest."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe's offering was made in a "personal capacity," but declined to comment further.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 21 2017. 17:22 IST