Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right), followed by a security officer, visits Yasukuni Shrine to pay respect for the war dead in Tokyo.
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Yasukuni war shrine Thursday in a move sure to infuriate China and South Korea.
Visits to Yasukuni by Japanese politicians have long been a point of friction with China and South Korea, because of Japan’s brutal aggression during World War II.
The visit to the shrine, which honors 2.5 million war dead including convicted war criminals, appears to be a departure from Abe’s “pragmatic” approach to foreign policy, in which he tried to avoid alienating neighboring countries.
It was the first visit by a sitting prime minister since Junichiro Koizumi went to mark the end of World War II in 2006.
Adding to the unease of Japan’s neighbors is Abe’s support for revising Japan’s pacifist constitution and expanding the military to counter rising tensions over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea claimed by both Japan and China.