Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering on Friday to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine for its annual spring festival but is expected to forgo making a visit to the controversial Shinto facility in person.
Abe has not visited the Tokyo shrine since December 2013 — a year after he became prime minister for the second time. He has instead made biannual masakaki (sacred tree) offerings for its spring and autumn festivals.
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi paid a visit Friday, telling reporters she came “as a Japanese person, to offer my gratitude with reverence to those who died for state policies.
“The way we commemorate (the dead) shouldn’t turn into a diplomatic issue,” said Takaichi, who visits regularly.