TOKYO, Oct 17 2017 : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, seen in China and the two Koreas as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, to mark its annual autumn festival, the shrine said today.
Abe was expected to refrain from visiting the shrine during the festival, which will last until Friday, the Nikkei business daily and Kyodo news agency reported.
Abe’s snap election comes amid heightened global tensions following North Korea’s nuclear tests and missile launches, which prompted the U.N. Security Council to impose fresh sanctions.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato also sent an ritual offering to the shrine, a spokesperson for the shrine said.
Past visits to Yasukuni by Japanese leaders have outraged Beijing and Seoul because it honours 14 Japanese leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals, along with Japan’s war dead.
Abe has only visited the shrine in person once, in December 2013, since becoming premier the previous year.
Japan, China and South Korea are trying to hold a summit meeting this year, the Nikkei business said. – Reuters