Aug. 15 - Japanese cabinet ministers pay respects to the nation's war dead at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sends offering. Sophia Soo reports.
Japanese parliamentarians and aides along with thousands of Japanese offered prayers at a controversial shrine to commemorate the end of World War Two. Yasukuni Shrine honours 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, along with war dead. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering but did not visit in person. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE SAYING: "I asked my special aide (Koichi) Hagiuda to make the offering on my behalf with a feeling of gratitude and respect for those who fought and gave their precious lives for their country." Visits to the shrine by top politicians have outraged Beijing and Seoul in the past. But many do not want to see their government bowing to foreign pressure. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 73 YEAR OLD PENSIONER HIROSHI MATSUDA SAYING: "I wish the Prime Minister would try a bit harder, otherwise neighbouring countries who are quick to sniff out an advantage will think that Japanese just obeys to what is asked of them, and they will push us over and over and over. So I think they should stop this by saying at some point that this place is not what you think it is." Both China and Korea suffered under Japanese rule for decades.