Published On: Sun, Apr 21st, 2019

Japan’s Abe sends offering to Yasukuni war shrine

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Yasukuni shrine, which honors 2.5 million war dead but also top World War II criminals, has frequently been a source of sour relations with countries that suffered from Japan’s military atrocities

Published 7:11 PM, April 21, 2019

Updated 7:12 PM, April 21, 2019

In this file photo, people visit the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on August 15, 2016. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

In this file photo, people visit the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on August 15, 2016. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

TOKYO, Japan – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday, April 21, sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, seen by Asian neighbors as a symbol of Japan’s militarist past.

The Tokyo shrine honors 2.5 million war dead but also top World War II criminals and has frequently been a source of sour relations with countries that suffered from Japan’s military atrocities.

The conservative premier sent a sacred “masakaki” tree at the start of an annual spring festival.

“The prime minister, the speakers of the upper and lower houses, and the welfare minister” made offerings, said a shrine spokeswoman.

Abe last visited the shrine in December 2013 to mark his first year in power, sparking fury in Beijing and Seoul and earning a diplomatic rebuke from close ally the United States.

He has since stayed away however as the leaders of both China and Japan attempt to maintain their improving but delicate relations.

Abe, the host of this year’s G20 summit, wants Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Japan for the first time as a national leader.

China gave only muted reactions to Abe’s past offerings of masakaki. – Rappler.com

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