Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dedicated a "masakaki" decorated wooden stick offering used in Shinto rituals to Yasukuni Shrine, but did not visit the war-related shrine for the major autumn ceremony that began Thursday.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura similarly dedicated a masakaki, a shrine spokesperson said, adding that the cost was ¥50,000 each.

Abe is expected to skip making a visit to the shrine during the Reitaisai ceremony that continues until Sunday and thereby avoid further angering China and South Korea, which regard Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's wartime militarism in the 1930s and '40s.