Japanese ministers offer sacrifices to notorious shrine

Updated: 2013-07-14 00:20


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TOKYO - A small group of Japanese cabinet ministers on Saturday offered sacrifices to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine to commemorate Japanese war dead, local media reported.

The four ministers, including justice minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, State Minister for Disaster Reconstruction Takumi Nemoto and Tomomi Inada, State Minister for Administrative Reforms, offered lanterns to the controversial shrine, said Japan's Kyodo News.

The Yasukuni Shrine kicked off its annual sacrificial ceremony from July 13 to commemorate its war dead, including 14 enshrined war criminals during the World War II.

In April, Japanese Vice Prime Minister Taro Aso and three other cabinet members paid visits to the shrine during its spring festival, while a record 168 lawmakers also worshipped it.

Repeated visits to the controversial shrine by Japanese leaders and lawmakers have become a major obstacle for Japan to mend its ties with neighboring China and South Korea.

The two countries have urged many times that Japanese leaders should stop visits to the shrine and take a responsible attitude toward history.