About 70 Japanese lawmakers visit war-linked shrine


Tokyo (dpa) – About 70 Japanese lawmakers offered prayers at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Tuesday, which has been a source of tension between Japan and neighbouring countries.

The lawmakers from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition camp visited the war memorial which honours the spirits of the nation’s 2.5 million war dead, including convicted war criminals from World War II.

Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine on Saturday, when it started its four-day annual autumn festival, and two of his cabinet ministers paid homage Sunday.

South Korea, which prepares to host a trilateral meeting with Japan and China in early November, condemned their moves.

Visits by political leaders to the shrine anger neighbouring countries, especially China and South Korea, which see it as glorifying Japan’s wartime aggression.

Abe is expected to hold bilateral meetings with South Korea President Park Geun Hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the three-way summit in Seoul.

Abe and Park have never held a one-on-one meeting since they took office in 2012 and 2013, respectively.