Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Sunday but held off from visiting what Japan's neighbors view as a symbol of the country's former militarism.
The masakaki treeg offering was sent to mark the beginning of a three-day spring festival. A shrine spokeswoman said the speakers of the upper and lower houses, and the health minister also sent offerings.
Abe's decision not to visit the shrine, which also honors 14 Japanese leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals, was seen partly out of consideration of improving relations with China, with President Xi Jinping expected to visit Japan when it hosts a G20 summit in June.
China's relations with Japan have long been soured by what Beijing sees as Tokyo's failure to atone for its occupation of parts of China before and during World War Two, although ties have thawed recently.
In late 2013, Abe sparked widespread international outrage, including from key ally the United States as well as China and South Korea, when he visited the shrinRead More