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Japan prime minister sends offering to shrine

on April 21, 2014 10:09 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a religious offering today to a Tokyo shrine that honors the dead, including executed war criminals — long a source of tension with Japan’s neighbors China and South Korea.

Abe’s offering at the Yasukuni Shrine marks the April 21-23 spring festival, one of the shrine’s key annual events. But the move suggests he will not go to Yasukuni ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit beginning Wednesday.

Abe presented a pair of “masakaki,” traditional Shinto-style decorations of tree branches and other ornaments, along with a wooden plate carrying his name and title.

Yasukuni enshrines 2.5 million war dead including 14 Class A war criminals from World War II. The shrine has been a flashpoint between Japan and neighbors China and both Koreas.

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