Japan war shrine visits anger S Korea

2013-04-22 11:07
Shinto priests walk in line to the main shirine for a rite during the first day of the three-day annual spring festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Toru Yamanaka, AFP)

Shinto priests walk in line to the main shirine for a rite during the first day of the three-day annual spring festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Toru Yamanaka, AFP)

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Tokyo - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made donations and three Cabinet ministers prayed at Tokyo's militarist shrine over the weekend, sparking South Korean anger. Japan defended their actions as private.

Top government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that Abe didn't visit the Yasukuni Shrine but donated religious ornaments marking the shrine's spring festival. The finance minister and two other Cabinet ministers prayed at the shrine.

Suga acknowledged unconfirmed reports that South Korea cancelled foreign ministerial talks. He said the talks were at planning stage and hasn't been official.

He said the shrine visits and donations were private and shouldn't affect diplomacy.

Yasukuni honors Japanese wartime leaders convicted of war crimes among 2.5 million war-dead. It remains a focus of nationalist pride among Japanese conservatives and right-wingers and often causes friction with Japan's Asian neighbors.

Read more on:    shinzo abe  |  japan  |  south korea

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