Tokyo: A group of 93 Japanese lawmakers on Friday visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, which is seen as a symbol of the country’s militaristic past.
The visit came a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine to mark the start of Spring Festival, Efe news reported.
Visits by politicians to the shrine are often met with criticism from South Korea and China, which suffered Japan’s wartime brutality and colonial rule during the 20th century.
It is a constant source of diplomatic tension between the neighbouring countries.
The members of parliament were led by Vice President of the Japanese Upper House Hidehisa Otsuji.
Visits to the shrine have become a custom of many Japanese politicians during the Spring Festival celebration.
Friday’s visit comes one day after Abe sent a tree as a ritual offering to the sanctuary in a gesture protested by Seoul, which urged the Japanese government to make efforts to develop bilateral relations as the visits are viewed as a lack of remorse.
The Yasukuni shrine honours those who died for Japan between the late 19th century and 1945.
Among them were 14 political and military leaders convicted as class-A war criminals by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East at the end of the World War II.
During the early 20th century, Japan colonised the Korean peninsula, Manchuria, some regions of China and almost all of Southeast Asia.