Abe to Skip Yasukuni Visit during Spring Festival

Politics

Tokyo, April 17 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to refrain from visiting war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo during its three-day spring festival from Sunday, sources in the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Wednesday.

Abe is apparently aiming to prevent Japan-China relations from deteriorating again, ahead of the summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Osaka, western Japan, in June.

Instead, he plans to make a ritual offering of a "masakaki" tree stand to the shrine, the sources said.

The Shinto shrine in Chiyoda Ward in the Japanese capital is regarded as a symbol of Japan's past militarism by China and South Korea as it honors Class-A World War II criminals among the war dead.

The Japan-China relationship has been improving recently, after years of deterioration partly reflecting Abe's Yasukuni visit in December 2013, the only confirmed visit to the shrine by the prime minister since he returned to the post a year before.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press