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Japan politicians set to visit controversial war shrine

Published on Aug 15, 2014 6:36 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese politicians are expected to visit a controversial war shrine Friday, in an annual pilgrimage that angers China and South Korea, which see it as a potent symbol of Tokyo's imperialist past.

The visit to Yasukuni shrine, marking the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, is a regular sore point for Tokyo's neighbours, but the latest trip comes with relations plumbing new depths as territorial disputes exacerbate tensions.

Japan's nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the shrine in December, sparking fury in Asia and earning him a diplomatic slap on the wrist from the United States, a close ally, which said it was "disappointed" by the move.

Abe has remained tight-lipped about another visit, but local media have said he was likely to stay away on the 69th anniversary as he looks to mend ties with Beijing and Seoul.

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