A Japanese cabinet minister visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday, press reports said.
Yoshitaka Shindo, the minister of internal affairs and communication, visited Yasukuni shrine on New Year's Day as thousands of people attended Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to pray for good fortune in 2014, Jiji and Kyodo news agencies said.
"I paid the visit in my personal capacity as a personal matter of my heart," Shindo said
He visited the shrine at least three times last year including on August 15, the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, Kyodo News said.
Last Thursday, Shinzo Abe made his first visit as prime minister to Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japan's war dead including several high-level officials executed for war crimes after World War II.
China and South Korea see it as a brutal reminder of Tokyo's imperialist past and wartime aggression.regularly offer prayers there for the war dead.© (c) 2014 AFP