Japan PM Abe to visit controversial Yasukuni war shrine today

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during a press conference at the Abe's official residence Tokyo on Dec 14, 2013. Mr Abe is to pray at the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo today, according to Japanese media repor
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during a press conference at the Abe's official residence Tokyo on Dec 14, 2013. Mr Abe is to pray at the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo today, according to Japanese media reports. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP  

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to pray at the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo today, according to Japanese media reports.

The visit to Yasukuni, which enshrines many of Japan's war dead as well as Class A war criminals, is expected to inflame already-tense relations with China and South Korea.

The choice of today for the visit is also significant in that it marks the first anniversary of the formation of the Abe Cabinet.

Earlier, Mr Abe had openly expressed regret at not having gone to Yasukuni during his first stint as prime minister from 2006-2007.

His Yasukuni visit today is likely to make it even more difficult for Japan to repair relations with its two largest neighbours.

wengkin@sph.com.sg