Marking the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II, two Cabinet ministers on Wednesday paid what they said was a private visit to war-related Yasukuni Shrine, the first by such high-ranking politicians since the Democratic Party of Japan took power in 2009.

The visits may be an indication that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's power is waning, as he had asked his Cabinet "not to make an official visit" to the Tokyo shrine dedicated to the nation's war dead.

Jun Matsubara, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, and transport minister Yuichiro Hata insisted their visits were not official.