The Minister's visit to the shrine - which honours World War II criminals and is considered as a symbol of Japan's past militarism - is likely to provoke its neighbouring countries, especially China and South Korea, Xinhua reported citing Japan's Kyodo news agency.

Shindo also visited the shrine during its spring and autumn festivals, and on the August 15 anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender.

Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, drawing criticism from all quarters, including the US.

Repeated visits to the war shrine by Japan's ministers and lawmakers have become a major obstacle for the country to mend its already strained ties with China and South Korea.


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