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Japan's Abe sends ritual offering to notorious Yasukuni Shrine during autumn festival

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-17 09:43

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday on the occasion of the country's annual autumn festival.

Although the move will likely draw staunch criticism from neighboring countries, Japanese cross-party lawmakers and some of Abe's former cabinet ministers may visit the controversial shrine during the four-day festival.

Abe himself is reportedly to refrain from visiting the notorious shrine during the festival in person in an effort to prevent further damage to Japan's relationship with China and South Korea at a time Japan and the region is facing heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals among 2.5 million Japanese war dead from WWII and is regarded as a symbol of past Japanese militarism.

Visits and ritual offerings made by proxy to the infamous shrine by Japanese leaders and officials have consistently sparked strong criticism and hurts the feelings of China and South Korea and other countries brutalized by Japan during WWII.

The Japanese premier last visited the controversial shrine in December 2013, at which time he was strongly condemned by China and South Korea, as well as the United States, who said at the time it was disappointed with Abe's decision to visit the shrine in person.

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