Two Japanese cabinet ministers have visited a controversial war shrine seen by many as a symbol of Tokyo's imperialist past, in a move likely to anger neighboring China and South Korea.
National Public Safety Commission Chairman Jin Matsubara and Land Minister Yuichiro Hata on Wednesday paid homage at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including some convicted of war crimes.
The visit, which comes on the 67th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, is the first by a cabinet minister since the Democratic Party came to power in 2009, pledging improved relations with Tokyo's Asian neighbors.
Though economic ties between Seoul and Tokyo are strong, anti-Japan sentiment is widespread in South Korea. Japan imposed harsh colonial rule on South Korea and parts of China during much of the first half of last century.