A group of 19 lawmakers paid homage Friday at Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine during its annual autumn festival, but no Cabinet members made the visit and the number of participants was one-third the usual number.

Makoto Koga, a former Liberal Democratic Party secretary general who heads the Japan Association of Bereaved Families of the War Dead, told reporters that the decline in the number of participants was due to the Nov. 9 general election for the House of Representatives.

The visitors included former Lower House Speaker Tamisuke Watanuki, LDP Executive Council Chairman Mitsuo Horiuchi and Shinya Izumi, who leads the New Conservative Party’s lawmakers in the House of Councilors.

The bipartisan group also included 49 representatives of other lawmakers and Cabinet ministers.

The Cabinet ministers who sent representatives were Economy, Shoichi Nakagawa, minister of trade and industry; Kazuyoshi Kaneko, minister in charge of administrative reform; and Kiichi Inoue, minister in charge of disaster prevention.

The Shinto shrine honors Class A war criminals along with the nation’s war dead.

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