Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday sent a ritual offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a source of diplomatic friction with China and South Korea, which regard it as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

Economic security minister Sanae Takaichi offered prayers at the shrine on the day, the first day of its two-day spring festival. Takaichi, known for her hawkish views on security policy, has visited Yasukuni Shrine on various occasions, including its biannual spring and fall festivals.

Kishida sent the masakaki offering, but the prime minister, who heads a dovish faction within the conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is likely to eschew an in-person visit as he did previously.