Tokyo, Oct. 14 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has decided not to visit war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo during its autumn festival from Saturday, informed sources said Wednesday.
Suga is expected to make a ritual “masakaki” tree offering as former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did. Suga took over the top government post from Abe last month.
China and South Korea regard the Shinto shrine, which honors the war dead including convicted war criminals, as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.
Both Beijing and Seoul have expressed strong opposition to visits to the shrine by key Japanese officials, including the prime minister and the chief cabinet secretary.
Suga did not visit the shrine during his tenure as chief cabinet secretary, the post he held until he became prime minister.
This year, cabinet ministers visited the shrine on the Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II for the first time in four years.
Abe went to the shrine Sept. 19, just after his resignation as prime minister, making such a visit for the first time since December 2013.