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Friday, October 17, 2014, 09:49

Japan PM sends Yasukuni offering

By Agencies

 Japan PM sends Yasukuni offering
A group of Japanese lawmakers follow a Shinto priest to pay respect for the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine during an annual autumn festival in Tokyo, Oct. 17, 2014. (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the Kyodo news agency said on Friday. The shrine honors convicted World War II Class-A war criminals along with war dead.

China's foreign ministry expressed serious concern.

"China is seriously concerned about and resolutely opposed to the negative tendencies which have appeared in Japan regarding the Yasukuni Shrine," the ministry said in a statement in response to a question on Abe's offering.

Later in the day, about 110 Japanese lawmakers from a nonpartisan group on Friday morning visited the notorious Yasukuni Shrine to mark the beginnign of a four-day autumn festival.

The lawmakers included members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party as well as the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan and some other parties.

Abe, who is currently attending a meeting of Asian and European leaders in Milan, visited the shrine in person in December 2013. The move outraged Beijing and Seoul, where bitter memories of Japan's past military aggression run deep.

But in a bid to improve ties, Abe is now hoping to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and perhaps South Korean President Park Geun-hye in November on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific leaders summit in Beijing to repair ties frayed partly by feuds over the legacy of Japan's military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s.

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