TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual supplying to the controversial Yasukuni shrine for war dead on Thursday, the anniversary of Japan’s Planet War Two surrender, but refrained from going to in particular person amid tense ties with South Korea.

Men and women spend tribute to the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan August 15, 2019, on the 74th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in Planet War Two. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Previous visits by Japanese leaders to Yasukuni have outraged South Korea and China mainly because the shrine honors 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals.

Ruling Liberal Democratic Celebration lawmaker Tomomi Inada, a former defense minister and now specific aide to Abe, created the monetary supplying, named a “tamagushi-ryo”, on the premier’s behalf, domestic media mentioned. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment, saying it was a private matter.

“The peace and prosperity of our nation is due to these heroes who gave their lives for their homeland and I express my gratitude and respect,” Inada quoted Abe as saying, according to domestic media.

Abe has only visited the shrine in particular person after given that taking workplace in 2012 but has on a regular basis sent offerings on Aug. 15 and for the duration of the shrine’s spring and autumn festivals.

Bitter memories of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization of Korea have lengthy plagued ties with South Korea.

Relations amongst Washington’s two Asia allies deteriorated immediately after a ruling by South Korea’s Supreme Court final year that Japanese providers need to compensate South Koreans conscripted as forced laborers for the duration of Planet War Two. Tokyo says the matter was settled by a 1965 treaty normalizing ties.

The two nations this month ended every single others’ rapidly-track trade status and Tokyo on Tuesday urged caution for travelers to South Korea ahead of essential anniversaries this week. South Korea celebrates Aug. 15 as a national day of liberation from Japanese rule.

China’s relations with Japan have also lengthy been haunted by what Beijing sees as Tokyo’s failure to atone for its occupation of components of China ahead of and for the duration of Planet War Two.

A steady stream of guests paid their respects at Yasukuni beneath partly cloudy skies as temperatures soared. Groups like members of a tiny nationalist celebration and critics of the U.S. military presence on Japan’s southern Okinawa island gathered close to the entrance.

Police, some in anti-riot gear, patrolled nearby.

A sign inside the grounds mentioned activities such as hoisting flags, demonstrating or destroying house had been banned.

“The people today enshrined right here fought for Japan and we have come to express our gratitude and to show them our resolve to create a much better Japan,” mentioned Yoshiko Matsuura, 71, a former ward assembly member from Tokyo going to with other regional politicians.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Linda Sieg Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry

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