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Since conservatives close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined his Cabinet in a reshuffle last month, there has been speculation that visits to war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo by Cabinet ministers may resume after a halt of 2½ years.

Ahead of an autumn festival at the shrine — which honors Class-A war criminals along with the war dead — set for Oct. 17, some within political circles have voiced concern that any ministerial visit to Yasukuni on the occasion may trigger a backlash from China and South Korea. The two Asian neighbors regard the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.

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