Japan’s ex-PM Abe visits controversial Tokyo shrine

TOKYO (AP) — Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday he visited a shrine viewed by China and both Koreas as a symbol of wartime aggression.

Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which he announced in a tweet, comes days after his resignation. It is his first visit in nearly seven years.

Abe said on Twitter that he visited the shrine “and reported to the souls of the war dead” that he’d resigned as prime minister.

The shrine is controversial with Japan’s neighbours because it honours convicted war criminals among the millions of other Japanese who died in World War II.

The visit will likely be harshly criticised in North and South Korea and in China, countries that were victims of Japanese military aggression in the early part of the 20th Century.

Abe’s last visit to the shrine was in late 2013.