Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will refrain from visiting Yasukuni Shrine on the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II next week, sources said Saturday.
Instead, on Aug. 15, he again plans to make a ritual offering called tamagushi at his personal expense in his capacity as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, through a lawmaker who is a close aide, the informed sources said.
Yasukuni Shrine is considered a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, particularly in China and South Korea, because it honors Class-A war criminals along with Japan’s war dead.
Some in the LDP are calling on Abe to go to the Tokyo shrine on the milestone anniversary anyway.
The Shinto facility simplified its spring festival this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the surrender anniversary, it will allow people to enter the shrine building as usual, sources at the shrine said.
Every year, Abe makes a masakaki (tree stand) offering during the shrine’s spring and autumn festivals and a tamagushi offering during the war-end anniversary.
He last visited the shrine in December 2013.
On Friday, many Cabinet members stopped short of clearly answering questions at new conferences about whether they would visit the shrine on the sensitive anniversary.