SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — South Korea on Monday expressed deep regret and worry over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's sending of a ritual offering to a notorious Tokyo war shrine and a group of Japanese politicians paying respect to the shrine.
Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement that it expresses deep worry and regret over leaders from the Japanese government and parliament repeatedly making a ritual offering and paying homage to Yasukuni Shrine that glorifies Japan's war of aggression.
The statement urged Japanese politicians to face up to history with courage, calling on them to show humble introspection and sincere repent over the militaristic past with actions to gain trust from neighboring countries.
Abe sent his ritual offering once again to the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japan's past militarism as it enshrines 14 Class-A convicted war criminals along with millions of war dead, earlier in the day that marks the 71st anniversary of his country's defeat in World War II.
He reportedly refrained from visiting the war-linked shrine to prevent Japan's relations with China and South Korea from worsening. In December 2013, Abe drew harsh criticism from neighboring countries as he became the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit the controversial shrine in seven years. Since then, he has sent offerings or donations.
Scores of Japanese lawmakers from a cross-party group and Japan' s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda visited the infamous shrine on Monday morning.
Tomomi Inada, Japan's new defense minister who had been widely expected to visit the war shrine, is on her first overseas trip to Djibouti.