TOKYO (AFP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday his visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine was a pledge that Japan would not go to war again and was not intended to hurt Chinese or South Koreans.
"I chose this day to report (to enshrined spirits) what we have done in the year since the administration was launched and to pledge and determine that never again will people suffer in war," he told reporters at the shrine.
"I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticise a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshipping war criminals, but I made my visit to pledge to create an era where people will never suffer from catastrophe in war," Mr Abe said.
"I have no intention at all to hurt the feelings of Chinese or South Korean people."
A Chinese foreign ministry official condemned his visit as "absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people".