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PM Abe sends ritual tree offering to Yasukuni Shrine

All networks reported at noon that Prime Minister Abe sent a “masakaki” tree offering under the name of the prime minister to Yasukuni Shrine at the start of its four-day annual festival today. NHK said Abe is likely to refrain from visiting the shrine as he is planning to visit Akita and Yamagata to make stump speeches for candidates running for the general election. The networks said Upper House President Date, Health Minister Kato, and Vice Education Minister Mizuochi also sent ritual offerings to the shrine. NHK quoted Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nogami as saying at a press conference today: “I’ve heard through media reports that the prime minister made the masakaki offering, but it was a private action and I have nothing to say on behalf of the government. The prime minister will make an appropriate decision on whether or not to visit Yasukuni Shrine.”

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