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Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine; 4 ministers visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Saturday - the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two - but avoided a personal visit that would anger China and South Korea.
Four cabinet ministers paid their respects in person at the shrine, which honors 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal as well as war dead, and is seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan's past military aggression.
"I came to deliver a message from (ruling Liberal Democratic Party) President Abe that he paid his respects from the heart to the war dead and prayed for the rest and permanent peace of their souls," said ruling party lawmaker Shuichi Takatori, who made the offering on Abe's behalf.
Abe has not gone to Yasukuni in person since a December 2013 visit that outraged China and South Korea, but has sent offerings via an aide.
Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, 39, often floated as a future premier, visited the shrine, as did Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda, a close Abe ally. Seiichi Eto, minister in charge of territorial issues, and internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi also visited the shrine.
Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine; 4 ministers visit
A war veteran salutes at Yasukuni Shrine on Saturday. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
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