Foreign Minister Taro Aso was expressing his personal opinion when he said Emperor Akihito should visit Yasukuni Shrine, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Monday in a bid to ease the diplomatic fallout.

The Imperial Household Agency has said the late Emperor Hirohito and Emperor Akihito have not visited Yasukuni Shrine since 1975, “considering various social situations” and other factors of the times, Abe said.

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